A few things I’ve learned about myself at the Yale Writers’ Conference:
1. No matter how many days go by, I remain in awe of the architecture. No gate, no door, no ceiling or courtyard, is any less than magnificent.
2. The things I’m most afraid to write about are the most important things to write about.
3. No matter how many times you tell a room of 100 people to turn off their cell phones, there’s always somebody ….
4. Six women sharing one bathroom isn’t as difficult as it sounds. And I don’t miss TV.
5. Reading your work in front of a big crowd really does get easier. Your heart still pounds like mad, but is that a bad thing?
6. Bacon and mashed potato pizza is the perfect food.
7. The bigger the library, the more hypnotic the effect. And you can’t get any work done when you need a nap. As beautiful as this library is, the one in the photo above, I write best at my desk in my dorm room.
8. Focus is overrated. From Jonah Lehrer’s IMAGINE: Trying to force an insight can actually prevent the insight. While it’s commonly assumed that the best way to solve a difficult problem is to relentlessly focus, this clenched state of mind comes with a hidden cost: it inhibits the sort of creative connections that lead to breakthroughs. So relax, and write.
9. I will walk many blocks, at 5 or 6 in the morning, for a good, strong cup of coffee.
10. I’m on the right track.