Richard Rushfield is the author of the books On Spec: A Novel of Young Hollywood, Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost: A Memoir of Hampshire College in the Twilight of the 80s, and American Idol: The Untold Story. He’s been a Vanity Fair contributor for over a decade and has also been an editor at The LA Times, Gawker, Buzzfeed, Yahoo, HitFix, and more.
The Best Writing Advice I’ve Ever Received: Richard Rushfield
In today’s “Interview,” I asked him for the best piece of writing advice he’d ever received.
It wasn’t writing advice he gave me; it was life counsel, but I applied it to writing. ‘Stay away from the hysteria,’ someone advised to me—basically, that the location where everyone wants to be is not the place you want to be. And I believe that throughout my career when everyone was starting with the same thing—everyone was attempting to climb the same ladder—I avoided that and sought out back doors and strange things that worked for me.
That is, I did not pursue a journalistic career in the traditional sense of applying for jobs and working my way up the ladder; rather, it came about as a result of my friend and I making fun of people at a coffee shop one day and coming up with the concept for a small chart about it. And that grew into a fifteen-year column for a big magazine. My work at the LA Times came about as a result of a small zine I started mocking The L.A Times.
Once everyone is saying it’s time to start a blog or be active on Twitter, it’s time to do whatever it is that everyone is doing at the moment—an e-book, whatever—there is no benefit to you in continuing down that path.
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