The best way to get better at writing? Read more.
“I started thinking a lot about the notion of how do we cultivate creativity and excitement about our work,” said Julia Goldberg, a professor of creative writing at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and a previous editor of the Santa Fe Reporter, an alt-weekly.
Goldberg has been thinking of herself as a writer for most of her life, but her thinking about what makes writing interesting and exciting led her to write a new book, “Inside Story: Everyone’s Guide to Reporting and Writing Creative Nonfiction.”
“One of the ways I cultivate excitement is by reading great writing, thinking about how the writer has been able to pull off” what they’ve done, pondering their process and how those practices can be adopted, she says. She asked her students to think about writers they love as a class.
Goldberg said she couldn’t find a book that covered all the bases she had in mind, so she wrote one.
“I got excited about writing myself, which made me excited about reading journalism and doing all the things it’s hard to do when you’re on deadline,” she said. “This is what needs to happen – you have to be cultivating a sense of excitement by looking at and reading things and being really jazzed about them.”
In the alt-weekly and alternative journalism world, many writers don’t come to the newsroom with traditional journalism backgrounds. Not many go through journalism school before arriving in alt publication newsrooms, Goldberg said, and as a result they’re not interested in traditional journalism. Instead, they’re inspired by longer form reporting, in the same vein as Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe.
With her students, she noticed that many of them have the same mixture of a love of writing and a burning curiosity, the combination of which gives them skills they don’t even realize could be useful in a professional setting.
Julia Goldberg, professor of creative writing at Santa Fe University and author of the recently published book, “Inside Story: Everyone’s Guide to Reporting and Writing Creative Nonfiction,” talks with producer Michael O’Connell about the process of researching and writing a book and how reading more can translate into better, more engaging and vivid writing.