Fanmail Q & A: Advice For New Writers

Pat,

I know you’re busy, so I won’t take up much of your time. I want to be a writer (Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to read anything of mine.)

I was just wondering if you have any advice for new writers. Just one piece would be really helpful…

Love the book,

Becky

Heya Becky,

Over the last few years, I’ve heard this question a lot. It comes up in e-mails and interviews with clockwork regularity.

Despite that, it’s a question I never mind answering. I like giving advice, and I like talking about writing. So this one’s a twofer for me.

That said, my answer tends to change. If I’m reading something that irritates me, my advice might center around how to avoid that particular irritation. Sometimes it just depends on my mood, or what I’m working on in my own revisions.

But I’ve also noticed a slow change in how I think of this question as time goes on. Sometimes my answer centers around the nuts and bolts of the craft: revision, or character, or how to comport yourself professionally at a convention.

But more and more, I tend to answer this question in more practical terms. While these snippets of advice tends to be much more universal and useful that talking about managing POV, interviewers seem to be put off by it.

I’ve come to realize that when an interviewer asks me, “Can you give one piece of advice for new writers?” what they’re really looking for is something pithy and encouraging. They want me to say “Reach for the Stars!” or “Never give up!”

But that’s not really good advice. I mean, you could really hurt your shoulder reaching for the stars. Good advice is occasionally disheartening. “Come to grips with the inevitability of rejection.” Or “Don’t quit your day job.”

Once, I had a lovely 30 minute phone interview that ended roughly like this:

Thanks for the interview, Pat.

My pleasure.

In closing, if you could give one piece of advice to new writers, what would it be?

Live somewhere cheap.

I beg your pardon?

Odds are, it’s going to take you a long time to finish your novel. Then it’s going to take you a long time to break into the publishing world. That means you’re effectively going to be working at a job that will pay you nothing, and you’re going to be doing it for years. So you should live somewhere cheap.

I was thinking something more along the lines of worldbuilding….

If you live somewhere like Seattle or Manhattan or LA, you’re going to have to shell out thousands of dollars just in rent. If you have to work three jobs just to pay your rent, when are you going to find the time to write?

Do you know how I managed to keep working on my first novel for 14 years without starving to death?

Student loans? Some sort of trust fund?

Shit no. I learned how to live cheap. Up until 2005, I never paid more than $225 a month for rent.

Wh– how?

I’m a good bargainer. And I had roommates. And small-town Wisconsin is a cheap place to live.

Also, I lived in some real shitholes from time to time. But you know what? You can write in a shithole. You can’t write when you’re working 70 hours a week.

[chuckles nervously] Well, I think that’s about all the time we have….

Hell, I was so poor for a while I qualified for low-income housing back in 2004. Those places were pretty nice, actually.

Remember to turn in next week, folks. Thanks again, Pat.

Did you know that if you boil a paper shopping bag long enough, it makes something that’s almost like soup?

[Cut to static]

Okay, I made up the part about paper bags, but the rest of it is true.

The nice thing about being a writer is that you can do it pretty much anywhere. If you want to be a Hollywood actor, you have to live in LA. If you want to be a professional pianist or a ballet dancer, your options are pretty limited. But if you want to write, you can live whereverthehell you want.


For example, back in 1994 I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with a shared bathroom down the hallway. The rent was $135 a month, everything included. My friends called the place: “The Pit.”

I was really poor back then. I was working three little part-time jobs and paying my own tuition. I didn’t even have a telephone because the 30 bucks every month for basic service was money I could really use for other things. Like food. You can eat for a month on 30 bucks if you’re careful.

Was the place a shithole? Absolutely. Was it inconvenient not having a phone? Of course. Hell, at one point my parents took out a classified add in the college newspaper because they had no other way to get in touch with me.

But I had time to write.

In fact, I distinctly remember writing Kvothe’s first admissions interview while living there. And his first class with Hemme. I was pretty proud of those scenes, and they didn’t change all that much between there and the final version of the book.

Best of all, living cheaply is a skill that will serve you well *after* you’re a published writer too. Especially if you’re writing Fantasy or Sci-fi. Tobias Buckell did some research into the advances a new writer gets for a first novel. And, on average, it’s not a ton of money.

So there you go, Becky. My advice for a new writer. Live somewhere cheap. Sorry if it’s not the gem of wisdom you were looking for, but really, what would you do with a gem of wisdom anyway? This is more like a muffin of wisdom. Everyone likes muffins.

Later all,

pat

This entry was posted in Ask the Author, BJ Hiorns Art, Fanmail Q + A, my student daysBy Pat76 Responses

70 Comments

  1. Captain Joe
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    I freakin’ love muffins.

    There is much wisdom in these words, Pat, much wisdom indeed.

    Its currently $15 for a sixty-pack of Mi-Goreng noodles at the moment, if you pay cash, so that’s me set through to March.

  2. Chrissa
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

    this muffin actually tasted really really good. thanks, pat!

  3. elizabathory
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    Absolutely brilliant advice!

  4. weasel
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

    i think i need to live in that gingerbread house… 1st because i never have to shop for food again, 2nd because it is awesome! ^^

    i like the pragmatic and down-to earth way you approach such questions. that is why it was worth to buy your book, although i had already borrowed it from sb. oh and of course because your book is awesome, too! ;)

  5. Pat
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    Heya Captain Joe. Guess who might be coming to Australia this summer?

    That’s my summer, by the way.

  6. Armin
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    In Germany we would talk about a 08/15 (read: zero eight fifteen) description of student’s living.

    Best translation I know of for 08/15 is run-of-the-mill. But you take up an interesting thought there. Does it really take a surviver to become a published author? I will pay more attention to the about the author sections from now on.
    I do remember a bunch of (former) university lecturers.
    – You yourself (wasn’t it?)
    – Brandon Sanderson
    – J.R.R. Tolkien

    … lets find out what the others build upon…

    Pay my respects to your illustrator – I love that picture.

    cheers

  7. Vasko
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

    Pat when are you coming to Texas man! I hav built a legion of followers for you around here. Dallas area is where you are needed most… As for your muffin, thankfully those are edible too.

  8. LaurafromNY
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    $15 for a sixty pack…that’s freaking cheap compared to NY! Try $1 for one pack…in the cheap cheap shops.

    Living somewhere cheap is good advice, but it’s hard when even the ghetto is like $1000+ for a one bedroom.

    I would like to add to your muffin, in addition to live somewhere cheap, find places that sell good food for cheap…(can’t function, much less write, if you’re hungry, and if you buy good food and it costs a ton, then what’s the point of living somewhere cheap?) cha.

  9. Darb07
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

    Damn it, now i’m hungry for muffins. That was the best post yet. i laughed out loud at at least 3 distinct spots. And just nodded my head and agreed with your wisdom.

  10. Sonja
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    wuaha.. only living in a cage would be cheaper^^
    I’m sorry for your past, pat.
    if i knew earlier how brilliant you are, i would’ve spent my life on finding sponsors for you, so that you can be brilliant in an adequate environment.

    About LaurafromNY’s comment..
    would be interesting to do some research on how hunger affects your writing style and creativity xD
    maybe, you write more about muffins..
    this one tasted veeery good btw.
    was very amusing^^

    ohhhh.. i have to try that thing with the paperbag XD

  11. Barry King
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

    What do you think about health insurance? $225 a month is great for rent, but health insurance is often double that. How do you cope? Any advice?

  12. smack of ham
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

    Reminds me of Carl Weathers’ advice for actors…

  13. Ben
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    This is not only great advice for young writers, it’s also the answer to our myriad financial woes as a country! Live on less and within our means.

    ROTHFUSS FOR PRESIDENT!!

  14. Courtney Milan
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

    Oh yes. You can live on $30 a month in food.

    I know this, because my monthly food budget in college was $60, and some months, I had to buy books.

    …And no. I don’t mean text books.

    And Barry, the answer to health insurance for a young person is obvious. You just don’t get it, and you pray.

  15. Captain Joe
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    Pat said: Heya Captain Joe. Guess who might be coming to Australia this summer?

    That’s my summer, by the way.

    … … gah…?

    Is it a New York Times best-selling American fantasy writer with a grizzly bear beard and a penchant for awesome?

    If it is, then I know a place he can stay that has hot water like 45% of the time, a stockpile of instant noodles and BBQ sauce (in case of zombie apocalypse), and a cataloged book collection to rival the Great Library of Alexandria under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty itself!

    Also air hockey. We got air hockey.

    Your arrival, Pat, if you do indeed arrive, will be cause for great celebration. Know that I have marshaled the Australian legions of Rothfussites under your dark and terrible banner for many a year. The torches are lit.

    Yeah… my hopes are sky high now. That is, if you’re coming down here to do readings/signings and such! If not, and you are merely coming for a personal holiday, then I am sure we can come to a mutually agreeable minimum stalking distance.

    Heh.

    Kind regards,

    Cap’n Joe

  16. Carolyn
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    I think this was excellent advice. Chances are, most of us wont become successful writers. We ought be prepared for a life of poverty, as we will probably still consume many, many hours writing instead of working. I’m cool with that.

  17. AC
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    Tastey muffin there Pat!

    I must say I know exactly where your comming from. 3 years of Ramen and Kraft Dinner with occasional splurge for bread and peanut butter while I was doing the college thing. I have also stayed in some pretty nasty dives…one in particualr comes to mind as it only had 3 1/2 walls. Why 3 1/2? Because one of my drunkin roomies went through the wall(yes completley through) and we were to cheap to fix it lol. Pissed off the land lady pretty good…it was a terrifying experiance. Hall hath no furry like a land lady wanting money!

    -AC

  18. Joe
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

    I got a chuckle out of you giving advice on “how to comport yourself professionally at a convention”. I’ve only seen you at one convention so my sample size is admittedly small, but I was at CONvergence ’09, and I’m not sure you’re a qualified expert on that subject. Best Con ever.

  19. Major Sheep
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

    I would count this among the best pieces of advice to give aspiring authors and artists both.

    Few people appreciate the value of cutting expenses so you can do what you want, rather than working a long hours so you can pay for things that only waste time anyway.

  20. C.M. Dunkin
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

    Actually it isn’t so much advice but Pat demonstrates something in his writing that I think few people seem to do lately: the economy of words. Pat -brilliantly-writes and you can tell that each word actually has significance, it isn’t just trown in for the sake of verbosity.

  21. kateness
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    Goddamit, blogger ate my comment. What follows is definitely only a third as clever as what was originally written. (Of course, if the original does show up…not out of the question…then I’ll look like a moron. Sweet.)

    I know all about living for cheap. Last two years of college, I lived on about 1k a month. 535 for rent, 200 for bills, the rest for food and booze and general other stuff (funny how the booze and other stuff actually winds up getting more of that remainder than food does). And I did this in the middle of Philadelphia. Wasn’t even in a terribly bad part of Philly, either. My place never got broken into/robbed/etc (that I know about. Not like I ever had anything worth stealing. Except the booze, maybe).

    I’ve been seriously considering putting on my bum, useless resume that I’m willing to work for 15k a year. I could do it. Sure, I don’t need health insurance. I’m an averagely healthy young female…what’re the odds. And after all, that’s why they call them emergency rooms. For the…erm…yeah. The uninsured.

    But it’s good to know that I’m following the One True Path of the Writer.

  22. Chiara
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

    well Pat, this was really down to earth.

    i am not world-famous, but i am a writer with two books for children published in 2009 and a third on on its way.
    when could i start writing? when my husband got a well paid job and i could quit my sh**ty small job and stay home being a mom and a housewife. since my house is not so big and my children are not so small i started having a lot of spare time :))))
    i guess this is just another nice way to be a writer: having a money-earning partner!!!
    love, C.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    Damn. I should be a writer. I use the same logic as that in order to be a graduate student. I don’t need a big place, just somewhere to crash after a day in class and in the lab… And internet… Though that isn’t such a big deal since there is high speed on campus.

  24. B. L. Garver
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

    Man, this post makes me miss the days when I had roommates. Of course, even though it was cheap and I only had to work on job to pay rent, the time I spent hanging with my roommates sucked away writing time.

    So now I live alone for a decent price. Nothing like 135 a month or whatever craziness you were paying in “The Pit” but I get by on my one full time job and write evenings and weekends.

    Now I just have to contend with the barking dogs, arguing neighbors in the parking lot, and blaring hip hop music from across the hall.

    Also…one of my neighbors harbors stray cats. There are like fifteen little guys outside the apartment entrance.

    Anyway, thanks for the nugget of advice. Or uh…muffin. You’re smarter than Batman.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    ‘wuaha.. only living in a cage would be cheaper^^’

    Or you could resurrect Diogenes’ barrel – has the bonus of sounding like you’re living there in order to scorn material things rather than just your financial straits.

    I have resigned myself to living in my parents’ house until I have amassed the dragon’s hoard currently necessary to buy a house in the UK (barring me failing to get into my two first choice universities and having to leave London). But at least I won’t have to worry about medical insurance over here.

  26. Alexis
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 8:08 PM | Permalink

    Pat,
    Don’t apologize for something anyone with a brain is going to acknowledge as solid advice (if to some uninspiring). Since a professional job brought me to CA I was not able to find somewhere cheap by a national standard, but $525 is killer for Altadena, and along with keeping my other expenses similar to how I lived as a student ($10k/yr but now inflated for cost of living in CA) have put away money, and gotten to write. I keep thinking about how the savings would let me quit the day job…. but there needs to be something else waiting at the other end and I am just not there…..

    Wishing you all the best,
    Alexis

  27. Pat B
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

    I must say Pat, you were definitely a college student once. A Ramon Noodles box of 20 or so runs me around 5 bucks here in South Carolina. And I currently live in a duplex with a roommate and i’m forking out $225 a month…not to terribly bad, but still. Keep being honest in your blogs man, and you’ll always have a fan base as strong as you do now. Keep it up

  28. Vinny K
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

    That was the most delicious muffin of wisdom I’ve ever received. Thank you, it is much appreciated. On a more serious note, that is actually some decent advice. I came to the same conclusion myself some time ago. That is why I’m hoping for an acceptance letter from my University of choice. For if I do, then I will be able to attend for free due to my kickass connections. And what’s cheaper than free? Anyway, keep up the immensely excellent work. May fortune smile upon you.

    ~Vinny~

  29. Anonymous
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

    Does anyone else think that Auri might me Elodin’s daughter somehow, they both mention watching wind, Etc, am i crazy?

  30. Erin
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the advice, Mr. Rothfuss. I’d love to see more “Ask the Author” posts.
    *wink wink, nudge nudge*

  31. LoL
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

    oh. wow. I know the news was for Captain Joe, but I’m super duper excited about the possibility (probability?!?) of you coming to Australia!!!
    If Brisbane is in your plans, let me know! Also, my fiance is a travel agent here in Australia and he’s also a HUGE fan of yours. He has a signed copy of your book already. Actually, it’s his favourite book ever. Anyway, point is, he’d be happy to help. Really, it’s his day job.

  32. Louise
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 2:34 AM | Permalink

    Lol. Living cheap is good advice for everyone, no matter the career choice…people spend too much time working.

    On a random side note, I’m of the belief that you and Captain Joe should team up and write/record something. The pair of you always have me in stitches…I only wish you had a show…hours of entertainment, right there.
    much love x

  33. Vae
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

    wow, that was awesome. thanks Pat. you always do know just what to say. and i love how no matter what it is, your old humor columnist voice creeps in there and makes it so entertaining. thank you :) sound advice that’s fun is rare to find.

  34. Captain Joe
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

    Louise said: On a random side note, I’m of the belief that you and Captain Joe should team up and write/record something.

    ^This. Feckin’ this.

    I’m also of the firm belief that Pat and I should record something. How’s about ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light‘. I’ll be Meat Loaf, of course. Pat, you can be Ellen Foley.

    Grand.

  35. Victoria
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    Coming to Australia???!!! Whooopee!

    I’m sure we can arrange billeting for you guys out amongst your many fans down here. I mean you could do the hotel thing, sure… but would it be nearly as much fun as visiting with fans?

    Hmmm.

    In retrospect, it might be kind of creepy staying with fans. In the sense you never know who has a manuscrip hidden at home they want to torture you with questions over…

    But, you know, offer’s there, in true Australian fashion, I have to say. Either way, I’ll be at the signing!

  36. C. S. Lane
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    Awesome.
    I’m a big fan of practical, real world advice. Last time someone told me to reach for the stars, I did, and I burnt my finger. Shoulder’s fine, but now I have an index stump.

    Sadly, the ladies do not dig it.

  37. Naomi
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

    I wonder, would being in jail count as living cheap? Have any of you been to jail for a while and know if it would be possible to write there? Or is this idea better as a random thought that should have just stayed in my head?

  38. Adam
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

    That is excellent advice, Pat. It reminds me of something I read in an interview with Richard Morgan awhile back. The advice he gave boiled down to,

    “Write because you love it. You won’t make a lot of money out of it. If you want to be rich, become a bank president.”

    Not everyone explodes like Stephen King or JK Rowling and become billionaires off their books. So, your advice is sound.

    Speaking of other authors who were teachers/instructors before they got to go full time…

    George R.R. Martin taught journalism at an Iowa college before hitting it big.

    The aforementioned Richard Morgan was also an ESL (English Second Language) teacher for like 15 years before he went pro writer.

    And some guy with a mighty beard who writes books about the wind was an instructor, too.

  39. Anna
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    hey thanks – I never supposed I’d be rich as unknown author, but somehow it was never quite clear to me. and thanks again that you assure it’s possible, living cheap, I mean.
    And a third “thanks” for being that realistic. Writing advice is nice, too, of course, but it’s great to see the practical sides of writing :-)

  40. Dave
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    In addition to your wonderful blog, I love your illustrator. Does he/she do work on the side for a nominal fee? I would love to get my family drawn.

    Thanks.

  41. Igneus Scimitar
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

    I like gingerbread houses as much as the next person, but if I lived there, Things would probably go sour. I would eat the chocolate firewood and freeze to death.

    But I too freakin’ love muffins Captain Joe. Excellent advice.

  42. Zack Truel
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    Awesome post Pat! It was great to see a little picture of how your life was back then. It gave me an even better admiration of you seeing that you came from humble beginnings. ;)

    You life story is a little closer to Kvothe’s then I thought. lol

  43. Anonymous
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

    Comeon Rothfuss this blog is great and all but can you update us on how the book is going. I know its quite an obstacle but im really interested in delving into the next chapter of kvothes story and just the monthly how the book is coming along would be great.

    James

  44. Remo
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 3:40 AM | Permalink

    Naomi said, “I wonder, would being in jail count as living cheap? Have any of you been to jail for a while and know if it would be possible to write there? Or is this idea better as a random thought that should have just stayed in my head?”

    Difficult, as you should be honing most of your ballpoint pens into shivs. Plus, after a hundred or so pages, keistering your manuscript becomes progressively less pleasant.

  45. kgftw
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    Pat, been meaning to write you. The student newspaper was completely worthless after you left it. I’m graduated now, so no loss anymore, but some solid articles there. Oh, and I creeped on you at a certain buffet Sunday night. I may or may not be following you. Your beard and hair are beastly.

    Loved the book, waiting on the second one.

  46. Anonymous
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

    14 years?

    Umm… Does this mean we can roughly expect Wise Man’s Fear by about 2023?

  47. Diana
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

    You didn’t mention the possibility of getting oneself a sugar daddy /sugar momma. Because then one could write to one’s heart’s content and not have to worry about those trivial things like food and rent, etc.

    But then, that does sort of run contrary to the thought that writers are supposed to be suffering, alcoholic and miserable in order to properly put the words down.

    Hmm.

  48. Anonymous
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    Great post, Pat.

    Your ears might have been burning this eve. The organizer of the Madison Borders SF Club and I were talking about you. About your awesomeness, specifically.

    Xochitl

  49. D.J. Morel
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    Found your blog for the first time today, loved this post!

    Just because places are cheap doesn’t mean they need to be boring, either. I’ve lived in Thailand, that’s super cheap. Got the most amazing phad thai for 5 cents. And I lived in East Berlin shortly after the wall came down, had to carry buckets of coal up from the basement to heat the apartment, but it was cheap (the apartment, not the coal, that was kinda pricey and had to be rationed).

  50. NM
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

    One advantage to living in a pricier area:

    you often won’t need a car.

    Not in NYC, or Boston, or San Francisco or their immediate environs (Jersey, Somerville, Oakland).

    $225 is good cheap rent, that’s for sure, but if you’re gassing up and insuring and repairing and perhaps even paying off a car…

  51. Pat
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    Not at all. I lived for years here in Point without a car. Everything I need is within a mile of my house.

    I only got a car once I needed to start driving around for tours and book stuff.

  52. NM
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

    That’s not something possible for many many people in the US, who live in places that are essentially designed to make sure people are dependent on cars.

  53. Pat
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    True enough. But that’s all part of the “Live somewhere cheap” philosophy. It’s not just about rent, it’s about cost of living and what sort of inconvenience you’re willing to live with.

    Rent might be cheap on Mars, but the utility bills are a bitch. And don’t even talk to me about the commute….

  54. Anonymous
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    Hah, see that’s sound advice and all… and actually a brilliant showing of how to be eloquent and precise with words… but us folk from Belgium don’t even have Ramen!

    I know, right.
    No microwave burrito’s either.

    The only time I’ve found ramen was when I went shopping in France, and it cost a load of money.

    The cheapest foodstuff is this sort of spam meat that’s half ground bones half starch.
    Aspiring writer that I am tried to ‘rough it’ with that stuff… but I had to stop when my gums started bleeding after a few weeks.

    Geyter.

  55. Neil Colquhoun
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

    Great post.

    A lot of worthwhile advice.

    Cheers

  56. The Erudite Ogre
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

    I think this ranks up there with, and is intimately connected to, Joe Lansdale’s advice for writers: “Put ass in chair and write.” I have taken both to heart.

  57. vitamins information
    Posted February 15, 2010 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    this is my first come to your blog,and i read agood information that you put in here..good job i like it
    keep going thanks.

  58. Anonymous
    Posted February 16, 2010 at 4:24 AM | Permalink

    Mr Rothfuss,
    It is 2010 and I have just read The Name of the wind. I am three years late, I know. I am also in awe. I am a forty six year old adult who reads constantly.The story, the words, everything…..your head must be an amazing place to escape to.
    Leonie. Australia

  59. Jinzu
    Posted February 16, 2010 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    I hate muffins, but i’ll mind the advice nevertheless.

  60. Stuart
    Posted February 17, 2010 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    "Live somewhere cheap"

    This, my friend, is why I'm living in Ecuador.

    No, really. :) My wife is from here, so we came down about a year ago to cut costs (mostly because daycare is freakishly expensive in the States) and so our boys could learn Spanish.

    Me? I get more time to write because I don't need as many freelance contracts to make ends meet.

    3rd world country beats Winsconsin. :)

  61. Anonymous
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    'Have any of you been to jail for a while and know if it would be possible to write there?'

    The only people I can call to mind of the top of my head who wrote in gaol are a) the Marquis De Sade and b) Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf). This rather suggests that while it is possible, the end result suffers somewhat.

    On the other hand it is also said 'when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.'(Dr. Johnson). So we could get a Book 2 much sooner – were the interment on Death Row – but it would probably be somewhat different from what we expected…

  62. Christopher
    Posted February 21, 2010 at 1:56 AM | Permalink

    I believe Harry Harrison moved to Mexico when he was first starting with writing.

    Plus I think that was during his pulp writing stage, back when pulp writers were paid (very little) by the word.

  63. Asiah Chantelle Hatcher
    Posted February 27, 2010 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    Hello my Name is Asiah and I've commented on here before but it never came up so i just wanted to say I am an 11 year old girl and that I've read the name of the wind as well as my 2nd oldest brother and now my dad will.

    It is the mas brilliant sensashional book I've ever read! my email is asiah_hatcher@hotmail.com pat pls contact me so I know you've read my comments. I know this is really late but I was wondering if I could possible get my name in the book even though it's really late I will still send you a card with all the details. or send it to you some how and email or something if possible.

  64. ktgurit
    Posted February 27, 2010 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Pat you are de cooliest!!!!!!!!!

  65. Gerli
    Posted February 28, 2010 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

    "Come to grips with the inevitability of rejection."

    or

    as Maureen Johnson likes to say,

    "Dare to suck."

  66. Anonymous
    Posted March 18, 2010 at 4:29 AM | Permalink

    Of course that advise wasn't at all what i spected. But then I remembered that TNOTW wasnt what i spected to, it was much more, i say this in the form that i spected, well not that encouraging shit, but something else, cus i do really, would want advise for my writings, even though it helped
    the book was awesome(no i've read it since it reached my country june 09 Mexico) and obviously im waiting for the 2nd one
    but i just googled a little about it and i want to know, are one of those the real cover pics??

  67. andy
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 3:43 AM | Permalink
  68. evision
    Posted March 29, 2010 at 7:50 AM | Permalink
  69. imelda
    Posted April 8, 2010 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

    I have visited this site. It was well and good. We gets lots of information about part time jobs over here.Please have a look our this site
    Part Time Jobs

  70. Posted June 6, 2013 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

    Long live the muffin of wisdom!

    I have to say, I like this kind of advice better, because even if it’s hard to accept its the truth and works better, helps you a little bit more than “Keep on going”… in the practical way of course. So with that advice I would say also, Don’t ever quit your dayjob… it sound perfect in the beginning, but trust me, it gets worst than walking in broken glass barefoot.. >M>

6 Trackbacks

  • [...] back on my job and now work part-time, enough to support myself, but taking excellent advice from Patrick Rothfuss in cutting my lifestyle expenses. I’m nowhere near the level of skill where I expect to get [...]

  • By home, cooking | blair thornburgh on March 14, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    [...] or neither (wait, that makes no sense). It might not be ideal, but I’m over it. It’s living cheaply, it’s a page in a book. Roll with the punches, go with the flow, eat more tortilla [...]

  • [...] can actually link you to a post on my blog where I answered a piece of fanmail where someone asked me that exact [...]

  • By » The Best Piece of Writing Advice, Ever. on August 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    [...] Patrick’s personal blog, Advice For New Writers: I’ve come to realize that when an interviewer asks me, “Can you give one piece of advice for [...]

  • By Writing Advice, Applied To Life | on September 16, 2013 at 5:07 AM

    [...] “Live somewhere cheap.”-Patrick Rothfuss (His added comments can be found here) [...]

  • [...] seem cheap by Bay Area standards. The consensus, whether you’re John Scalzi or Patrick Rothfuss, is that if you’re a writer, it’s best to live somewhere on the cheaper side. Read: not New [...]

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