Phillip Roth’s advice to young writer: ‘Quit while you’re ahead’

That advice, which he gave to a waiter in Manhattan, sparked a war of words in the literary blogosphere. Plus, writers should take improv, a writing blog debuts, ‘In Cold Blood’ questioned, and more.

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The people who dispense writing advice assume that their audience plans to continue writing. But this week a war of blog posts on literary sites commenced debating whether writing is worth pursuing. Author Phillip Roth doesn’t think so.

Also, a classic non-fiction book is questioned for accuracy, a writing blog debuts, writers should take improve, and more.

Is Writing Torture?
There seems to be a debate about whether writing is, in fact, torture. It started in an Upper West Side deli when a young author waited on Phillip Roth’s table, and got some surprising advice from him: “Quit while you’re ahead.” “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert offered a rebuttal. But Avi Steinberg, who covered the debate in The New Yorker, may have captured the argument best: Writing is torture, but some people enjoy torture. “We write because we are constantly discontented with almost everything, and need to use words to rearrange it, all of it, and set the record straight.”

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