John Fante's advice to young writers doesn't involve writing at all.

Written by Cole Schafer




 John Fante wrote countless books, short stories and poems –– one of which, Ask The Dust, is widely considered to be one of the more important pieces of American literature ever written.

In this novel, there is a three-lined section where his alter ego, an up-and-coming writer named Arturo Bandini, gives unsolicited advice to the reader, whom I imagine Fante knew was a writer or, at the very least, interested in the writing process.

Surprisingly enough, the writing advice had nothing to do with writing and everything to do with living…

*John Fante is writing now*

“My advice to all young writers is quite simple. I would caution them never to evade a new experience. I would urge them to live life in the raw, to grapple with it bravely, to attack it with naked fists.”

Don’t forget to fill up the well.

Like Fante, I feel that writing flows from this invisible well or reservoir inside of us; and that there is only so much we can take out before we must add to it, again.  

This can be done through reading voraciously like Stephen King or David Bowie, writing every day like Jerry Seinfeld, living recklessly like Charles Bukowski, or going hungry like Ernest Hemingway.

Regardless of what you choose, one thing is for certain, much of writing is done off the page.

But, I digress.

By Cole Schafer.