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In which Susan Fletcher is generous.

A little over a month ago I went to hear Susan Fletcher speak. I’ve been carrying around the handout from her talk, “25 Tips/25 Years: What I’ve Learned About Writing In the Quarter Century Since I Sold My First Novel” ever since, pulling it out of my bag every so often to reread.

I’m not going to give away all the tips, but I do want to share one that has been particularly resonating with me, which Fletcher herself got from Katherine Paterson. You can find Paterson’s essay on the topic in her collection A Sense of Wonder.

The tip: Be a good boss.

As a writer, of course, you’re ultimately your own boss. So what kind of boss are you?

Full disclosure: I have frequently not been a good boss, or even a mediocre one, to myself. I’ve often been the kind of boss who goes ballistic about my employee’s lack of productivity rather than helping her – I mean me – figure out ways to improve, and to set more realistic goals.

I appreciate the tip both because it inspires me to change my own behavior, and because I like thinking about it being passed on from Paterson to Fletcher to me and everyone else in Fletcher’s audience that evening. It’s generous.

And speaking of generosity: have you bought books for Ballou High School? I have. You should too.

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