Advice from the Masters: Katherine Boo

Jun 28, 2017 | Better Writing

Katherine Boo is an award-winning journalist and MacArthur “genius grant” recipient. I found the following bit of advice in a piece she wrote for the book, Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University. She’s a journalist, so she uses the word “reporting” but if you’re thinking about writing a business book, and that word makes you uncomfortable, feel free to substitute “research.”

“While reporting, you must lose control so you can accumulate the facts. While writing, you must exert maniacal control over those facts.”

When you’re gathering the raw material for a book, you don’t know what’s going to be important further down the writing road. Don’t try to control the process too much. Let what you find surprise and inspire you.

Want more? Check out the complete list of Advice from the Masters posts

If you want even more writing advice from writers, check out Jon Winokur’s blog, “AdvicetoWriters.”

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