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The Writing Life

Daytime Talk Series: Learning from Criticism, Rejection, and Failure with Jonathan F. Putnam

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 10:00 AM | For Members Only | Whitridge Room | Free of charge; advance registration required

Isaac Asimov said: “Rejection slips are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil—but there is no way around them.” If there’s one guarantee about becoming a writer—whether as a career or for your own fulfillment—it’s that the journey will involve great doses of failure. And even if you are able to persevere along the journey to publication, you have reviews (both professional and the snippy Internet ones) to look forward to. But if criticism, rejection and failure are necessary aspects of the writing process, how can you use them as sustenance for your journey rather than roadblocks? How can you take what’s useful and instructive from critical responses without being discouraged? And how can you read Goodreads reviews of your precious debut novel without pulling your hair out? We’ll explore together.

Jonathan F. Putnam was a trial lawyer at a large Manhattan law firm for two decades before deciding to try to become a writer. After five years of criticism, rejection and failure, he sold his first novel. He has now published two books in the Lincoln & Speed historical mystery series, These Honored Dead (2016) and Perish from the Earth (2017), and he’s currently working on the third.

The Writing Life events in 2017 are generously underwritten by Jenny Lawrence.