Catapult Staff: What Makes You a Better Writer?

Absorb everything. Write most of it down. If it’s still magic after you finish, cut until all that is left are the words you want.

–Nicole Chung, Managing Editor, Web & Community

In-house Contributing Editor, Web

Can reading be the answer?”

Director of Writing Programs; Associate Editor, Books

“One thing that makes you a better writer is listening to other people. The stranger on the plane who wants to tell you his life story all the way through your red-eye flight? Just let them keep talking. The worst-case scenario: you learn what a boring story sounds like. Even a conversation that isn’t interesting is interesting, if what you care about is structure and style, and people’s quirks. There are characters everywhere and there’s material everywhere. I guess this magpie habit is why Milosz says that ‘when a writer is born into a family, the family is finished.”

Jonathan Lee, Senior Editor


“I think the two most essential things for me are empathy and community. Building and exercising empathy allows me to inhabit my characters’ experiences in a more convincing way. It is also just a really big part of being a human being! And I’d be lost without my community of writers. Writing can be so isolating. I think it’s important to support your peers, and look to them for support in return.”

–Casey Gonzalez, Creative Project Manager; Associate Editor, Black Balloon