• Q&A With WriteByNight Co-founder David Duhr



    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr (New York, New York) is fiction editor at the Texas Observer, a member of the Yak Babies books podcast, and writes for the Dallas Morning News and others.






    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 have influenced my writing in some way or another.


    Where did you study?

    I went to three colleges four times and have one degree, which I nailed down when I was [checks watch] twenty-eight years old. The most important lesson: You learn far more outside of the classroom.


    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 colorless style helped me transition seamlessly into reviewing books.


    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, but 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. It’s like trying to swim through pudding.


    What is your strangest writing experience?

    For years I’d been writing a series of short stories about a group of people I worked with twenty-five or so years earlier and never saw again. After about a dozen stories, the fictionalized characters had become far more real to me than the real people, who by then were distant memories.

    A couple of years ago I traveled to my hometown for a funeral. A few of these former co-workers were there, and we spoke for a bit. It was… odd. It was as if I’d been given a chance to meet my characters in real life. They had aged significantly (he said, running his fingers through his graying hair), but their mannerisms, speech patterns, and appearance were more or less what I’d been imagining all those years. That chance meeting gave me a boost at a time when the writing was flagging.


    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. She 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, but be equally unafraid to ignore it if you feel you should. 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.


    Interested in working with David? Request a free consult now