Who Would You Like to Ask?

The University of Mississippi once invited William Faulkner to the English department to address one class per day for a week. Faulkner devoted the entire time to answering the students’ questions.

Photo from Commercial Appeal

Photo from Commercial Appeal


When asked what is the best training one should have for writing he said, “Read, read, read. Read everything – classics, good or bad, trash; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read! You’ll absorb it. Write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”


That was good advice; however, I would have added practice writing. You see I think you can read how to do it, how others are doing it but if you don’t practice you’re doing it, then how can the cycle complete itself? In other words, how will you know if you can even write.

That is the same thing with any profession. We have to learn by reading, studying, and trying it. Only by doing, will we become proficient at the trade we’ve chosen.

The students asked Faulkner another question. They wanted to know if it was good to copy a style. His answer was somewhat profound. “If you have something to say, use your own style: it will choose its own type of telling, its own style.”


Each of us is unique. We each have our own style of voice, writing, creating and to copy someone else in anything steals your style from you. Eventually your style will fade into the background.


Whom would you like to ask? What question would you like to ask that would help you succeed in your endeavors? If they are still living, do what you can to get in touch with them. If they are the kind of people they should be, they would be most willing to answer your question. If they don’t, then perhaps you might want to rethink why you would want answers from this type of person.


A successful person who is confident in who he/she is, doesn’t mind giving advice to others who are trying to learn and accomplish their dreams. They want to pass on and share their experiences and their wisdom. When we can help someone else on that road we are all traveling on, it imparts a piece of us and helps us live on even after we’re gone.



About Susan Reichert

Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazine, a magazine for authors and people who love to read.We highlight and promote authors and their books. Married with four daughters. Live in the South. President of a Writers Group.
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