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Introducing: write + chat

read + write
a heads up.
Been working on something we think you’ll like, and we think you should put it in your calendar
On Wednesday, April 20, we’ll be kicking off a new Twitter Spaces series with four guest writers from past issues of this newsletter: Errin Haines, Mary H.K. Choi, Danyel Smith, and Amanda Mull. We’re going to be talking about writing and about Twitter, but also all the other stuff — the highs, the lows, the feels, the laughs, all the things that go into being a writer. It’s a chat, so we’re calling it write + chat.
Our kickoff Space is already being billed (by us) as “not worth missing” — but if you do have to skip it, we intend to make the recording available afterwards. 
Here’s a reminder for why you should tune in to hear Errin, Mary, Danyel, and Amanda.
Errin Haines
Errin Haines is a writer, editor, and on-air analyst. She’s also a founding member of The 19th, where she currently serves as the Editor at Large. She’s worked at the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post and has written at Atlanta Magazine, POLITICO, and more. 
📸: The 19th
📸: The 19th
Here’s some of our favorite stuff from Errin’s interview in our March 14 issue.
What’s a piece of writing advice that’s held true for you?
Clear thinking produces clear writing. If you can’t articulate what the story’s about, you’re not ready to write. Keep reporting.
What’s your one tip (that doesn’t get discussed enough) for a writer trying to improve in 2022?
Whatever happened to letter writing? I think a lot about striking up a correspondence with one of my writer friends to talk about the craft, to encourage each other, and to offer constructive critique. People used to do that — and we still read their letters! Bottom line: I bought expensive stationery in the pandemic and I’m looking to use it.
How would you describe your relationship with your readers? (especially if it’s evolved)
It has definitely evolved, because I have multiple audiences! When I started out two decades ago (!) I was writing for newspapers. Readers could email me, or even (gasp!) call my desk directly to talk to me about my stories. How quaint! Now people can find me because they read my story, or see me on television, or hear me on the radio, or see me speaking somewhere or giving an interview about my work. And they can still let me know what they think via my social media profiles — which I have kept public — but I have the choice about whether and how I engage with people about my work. I try to maintain some of the civility of the former medium in how I interact now; with the Internet comes anonymity and distance along with a faux familiarity that definitely affects how people talk to each other. But I’m always going to seek out ways to be in community with people who are genuinely interested in productive, intellectually honest conversations around the things I write about, because at the end of the day, my work is meant to be an invitation to dialogue, never the last word.
Mary H.K. Choi
Mary H.K. Choi is a writer, editor, talker, and New York Times best-selling author. She’s the host of two podcasts, Hey, Cool Job! and Hey, Cool Life! and has written three YA novels, Emergency Contact, Permanent Record, and Yolk. 
📸: Hatnim Lee
📸: Hatnim Lee
Here’s some of our favorite stuff from Mary’s interview in our February 21 issue.
What’s a piece of writing advice that’s held true for you?
Finish the thing. Worry about its thingworthiness after.
What’s your one tip (that doesn’t get discussed enough) for a writer trying to improve in 2022?
I always become fixated on writing enough words every day. And how I need a certain ratio of words that will be preserved in the final thing. And then I start to become wildly precious not only about time but about what I need my words to do and then it sucks all the thrill and experimentation out because of the parsimony that infects the work. Which is to say, I find that doing silly writing doodles is wonderful and fantastic for keeping that miserly joylessness in check. I took Sheila Heti’s writing course that was offered by the Shipman Agency and was so happy that there were sessions for this kind of scribbling. George Saunders’s newsletter is sublime and generous in this way as well. 
Is there a thing you’ve written and have actually enjoyed going back and reading?
Danyel Smith
Danyel Smith is an author, journalist, podcast host, and former Editor-in-Chief of VIBE. She’s also the author of the forthcoming Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop and host of Black Girl Songbook, a Spotify Original. 
📸: Danyel Smith
📸: Danyel Smith
Here’s some of our favorite stuff from Danyel’s interview in our January 31 issue.
What’s a piece of writing advice that’s held true for you? 
Just say the thing. In a sentence. It could be four words, it can be fifteen. If it sounds awkward, you can fix it later. Or you can cut it. But if you don’t write the difficult thing in one sentence, then you’re distracted by not having written it, and then it’s hard to write the rest of the things. 
What’s the thing you read when you want to remember how to write?
I tend to listen to instrumentals. It’s a language that makes me think — they’re talking to me without words. And I have words! 
Is there a thing you’ve written and have actually enjoyed going back and reading?
I feel good about what I wrote in 2020 about Sade, and what I wrote last summer about Natalia Bryant. This one about anthems — songs of home — and the career of José Feliciano brings me joy because I know for certain it made him feel seen.
Amanda Mull
Amanda Mull is a staff writer at The Atlantic. So far this year, she’s written about NFTs and celebrities, Omicron and jobs, and the act of forming new habits. 
📸: Amanda Mull
📸: Amanda Mull
Here’s some of our favorite stuff from Amanda’s interview in our February 14 issue.
What’s a piece of writing advice that’s held true for you?
Kill your darlings. Not as a hard-and-fast rule, but a guideline to double check yourself. If you feel inordinately proud of your own cleverness, there’s a real chance you’re being too cute.
What’s a writing strategy you’ve developed that’s worked for you?
Just start writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect from the jump, just get the thought in your head down on the paper, and then the next one. Explain it to the reader like you’re explaining it to yourself, even if it sounds dumb, even if you rewrite it later, even if it just ends up being a really verbose outline of the eventual thing. Editing — or even completely rewriting — is a million times easier than writing something for the first time, so do whatever you can do to pull yourself to the other side of that draft.
What’s your one tip (that doesn’t get discussed) for a writer trying to improve in 2022?
There is enormous value in listening to and understanding how people talk. The worst writing feels written — in the words themselves, you can feel the agony of the work’s creation. Good writing feels like someone is talking to you from the page. There’s a confidence to it, an ease that comes from understanding how real people communicate with each other, how their sentences round out, how they move between ideas.
one last thing
Our newsletter got a little facelift — we hope you like the new read + write banner. 
Looking forward to seeing you on April 20, in the meantime you can reach us at @revue.
Until then,
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Anna from Twitter
Anna from Twitter @revue

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