• Staff Spotlight: David Duhr

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    Over the past few months we’ve been introducing you all to the wonderful consultants and coaches who help keep WriteByNight running like the smooth, well-oiled writers’ services machine it is. Next up is … me! Because we’ve gone through everybody on the list except for WBN’s owners. So below is a Q&A with me, with questions which I wrote and then answered myself. Me me me me!


    Where are you from?

    I grew up in Milwaukee and have since lived in: Denver; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Austin; Florida; and now NYC. Love ’em (Boston) or hate ’em (Denver), all of these places inform my writing in some way or another.


    Where did you study?

    I went to three colleges and have one degree. The key writing lesson I took away from them: You learn far more outside of the classroom than inside.


    How did you get your start as a writer?

    As a kid I wrote dozens of stories about baseball, straightforward play-by-play narratives: “Here’s the pitch. Strike one! Here’s the next pitch. It’s a ball.”

    That colorful style helped me transition seamlessly into reviewing books. I began contributing to a books website some friends ran, as well as to Fringe Magazine, where I was on staff in the fiction department and eventually became managing editor.

    My first assignment came from the lit journal Pleiades (thank you, Kevin Prufer); and my first paying assignments came from the Iowa Review and Gulf Coast, almost simultaneously. These days I write regularly for the Dallas Morning News, the Texas ObserverPublishing Perspectives, and others.


    What is your favorite thing about educating writers at WBN?

    Seeing a writer reach his or her goal(s). It sounds like a simple answer. It’s not.


    What is the hardest part of writing for you?

    Staying motivated and on task through the middle of a project, after the excitement has worn off and when the ending still feels years away.


    What is your strangest writing experience?

    I once published something of an open letter to a specific writer. I thought it was gorgeously witty, and the right kind of sarcastic, and I was very self-satisfied. I couldn’t wait for it to run, because I knew it would bring me lots of compliments and that fun attention some of us so desperately need.

    Instead, I got emails telling me that I was off base, mean-spirited, and not at all amusing in any way. And not one compliment.

    The lesson? I dunno. I still think the thing was funny, so clearly I haven’t learned anything.


    What’s your favorite word?



    Word association: Literature.


    See, I’m not very creative. (“Here’s the next pitch. It’s a ball.”)


    What’s the last book you read and what did you think of it?

    The Safety of Objects, A.M. Homes’ 1990 story collection. A.M. Homes is never dull.


    Any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Don’t be afraid to accept unsolicited help. And don’t be afraid to offer help. So many writers are competitive with other writers, but it doesn’t have to be that way.


    David Duhr, co-founderWriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is Fiction Editor for the Texas Observer and Managing Editor at Fringe Magazine. He contributes regularly to the Dallas Morning News, Publishing Perspectives, the Observer and others.

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