Advice to Young Writers

by Ron Padgett

One of the things I’ve repeated to writing

students is that they should write when they don’t

feel like writing, just sit down and start,

and when it doesn’t go very well, to press on then,

to get to that one thing you’d otherwise

never find. What I forgot to mention was

that this is just a writing technique, that

you could also be out mowing the lawn, where,

if you bring your mind to it, you’ll also eventually

come to something unexpected (“The robin he

hunts and pecks”), or watching the Farm News

on which a large man is referring to the “Greater

Massachusetts area.” It’s alright, students, not

to write. Do whatever you want. As long as you find

that unexpected something, or even if you don’t.

From Collected Poems, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Coffee House Press, 2013, page 408.