Advice from the Masters: Joyce Carol Oates

Aug 13, 2014 | Better Writing

Joyce Carol Oates gets a lot done. According to Wikipedia:

“Oates published her first book in 1963 and has since published over forty novels, as well as a number of plays and novellas, and many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction.”

She also maintains a full teaching schedule and co-edits a literary journal. No wonder Jay Parini said that “her name is synonymous with productivity.” How does she do it? She doesn’t think it’s such a big mystery.

“I have acquired the reputation over the years of being prolix when in fact I am measured against people who simply don’t work as hard or as long.”

For the record, she writes every day from 8 until 1. She often adds a couple of work hours in the evening.

Working hard alone is no guarantee of success. But every successful person I’ve ever met, across a variety of fields, was a hard worker.

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