Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Conclusion: Two Groups of People

David Sedaris

Lesson time 06:56 min

To end, David gives you heartfelt advice about writing every day, not confusing writing with publishing, and just how possible it is to become a writer.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: There's a Spot Waiting for You


[MUSIC PLAYING] - You know you're in trouble when at the end of your essay, you have to do this to show people you've come to an end. Oh my god. That's just such a-- that's cheating. And it's never going to work on the page because you just did all of that with your voice. And that's like slowly breaking, but it's not ending. They do that on NPR all the time. They end-- they end essays, you know, reports that way, and it's like, oh, come on. [MUSIC PLAYING] The most important thing for you is to develop discipline for writing is to set a time and sit down and stay at your desk for a certain amount of time, and then up it and up it and up it. Writing letters counts as writing. Writing emails doesn't. I can't tell you how many times I've been at my desk, and I've just had nothing. And then I've looked out the window, and I've seen something. Maybe it's just I'm watching birds fighting, and that can lead to something. But unless you're sitting at your desk, it's not going to happen. So you really need to develop that habit of sitting at your desk. and you need to keep in mind that as long as you're there, and as long as you do it every day, and as long as you read everything you can get your hands on, you are going to get better. Don't confuse publishing with writing. They're two completely different things. Let the world take care of the publishing part. That's not your job. I wrote every day for 15 years before my first book came out. That seemed normal to me. I throw away maybe a third of what I write. That's normal to me. Sometimes, it's easy. But most times, it's not. That's normal to me. It's not-- every day isn't going to be a great day at your desk. That's normal. Nobody has a great day at their desk every day. You really need to get to work now. You really-- I mean, I don't mean to suggest that you weren't working before you started watching this, but you know, if I could do anything, if I could do anything, I would just want you to know how, how possible it is. I remember the day that I announced to myself that I wanted to be a writer, and I'd been writing for five years by that point. And I was in North Carolina, and I was in Raleigh. And I was riding my bike, and I remember exactly where I was on the road. And I said to myself, I want to be a writer. And it's terrifying to say that because once you announce an ambition, if it doesn't work out, then you're a failure, right? Even if you just tell no one but yourself, you're setting yourself up. It's scary. It's scary to say that you want to do something. But there comes a point when if you're serious about it, then you have to say at least to yourself, this is what I want. And then there are stakes. You know, there are stakes involved, right? Because then if you don't get it, you have to think, OK, how do I deal with that? But you know what? If I can write 10 books and if I can be in "The New Yorker" and if I can have my own radio show on the BBC, anybody can. ...

About the Instructor

With essays in The New Yorker, bestselling books like Calypso, tours, and readings on NPR, David Sedaris is one of the most recognizable essayists alive. Now he teaches you the art of personal storytelling. Learn how David crafts attention-grabbing openings, satisfying endings, and meaning from the mundane—and how he uses humor to connect with others and process the difficult and sometimes dark aspects of everyday life.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

David Sedaris

NYT–bestselling author David Sedaris teaches you how to turn everyday moments into seriously funny stories that connect with audiences.

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