Writer in Residence

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being a Writer #4: Daniel Scott Tysdal

By Zoe Whittall


Daniel Scott Tysdal is a poet, filmmaker and professor of creative writing. His books are Fauxccassional Poems (Icehouse, 2015) The Mourner’s Book of Albums (Tightrope 2010) and Predicting the Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method (Coteau 2006).

What do you wish someone had told you before you published your first book?

I wish someone had told me not to take brutal reviews too hard. In some cases, there will be a grain (or bushel) of truth in the critique, which means you can learn from the harsh review and become a better writer. In other cases, the reviewer's schtick is to publicly bloviate, bluster, and posture. The positives in these cases are: one, these reviewers aren't actually talking about your book, two, people see through these reviewers, and, three, these reviewers could be causing even more damage as teachers or politicians, so you can consider occupying their attention a public service.

Faux Poems Cover

What advice do you give emerging writers?

There are two pieces of advice I always give to emerging writers. First, put in the work: read, read, read, and write, write, write. Second, make things with your friends, whether other writers, artists, or musicians: plan a writing trip to an art gallery, park, or abandoned building, make a chapbook, organize a reading series or open mic--do whatever brings you together to connect, share, and create.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Zoe Whittall’s next novel, The Best Kind of People, will be published in fall of 2016 with House of Anansi Press. Her novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible, won a Lambda Literary award, was shortlisted for the Relit award, and was an American Library Association’s Stonewall Honor Book. She’s published three books of poetry, and works as a freelance TV writer and journalist in Toronto.

Her books have been translated into French, Swedish, and Korean.