Insights from Chris Crowe

Today Chris Crowe answers our questions. Chris will be teaching Writing Nonfiction for Teenagers at Solstice this year.

1. Why should writers consider writing nonfiction?
The bulk of what is published in print and online is nonfiction, so it provides many more opportunities for aspiring writers to find an audience. Nonfiction, of course, comes in a huge variety of flavors, so writers will never run out of subjects to explore—and to put into writing.

2. What’s your favorite nonfiction book?
I like too many to single out just one book, but for years I have really admired Jennifer Armstrong’s Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World.

3. What are your writing habits?
I have horrible writing habits, but when I’m disciplined and productive, writing is the first thing I do when I get to work. I have a secluded cubicle in the belly of the BYU library—no windows, no cell phone reception, no wifi connection—and I sit at a small and aging Dell desktop computer and write. A really good day provides me three hours or more; most days an hour or less.

4. What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I teach in the English department at BYU, and that takes up a large amount of my time—not just the teaching, but the meetings and the conferencing with students, and the other stuff that fills a professor’s day.

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Read, read, read. Establish a writing routine. Write with your internal editor muffled and stuffed in a sound-proof box. Enter contests. Attend workshops. Find smart and trusted readers who will give you honest feedback about your writing. Never give up.

6. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were starting out as a writer?
I wish I had understood better the importance of knowing your audience. I also wish I had taken typing in high school.

7. And just for fun…salty or sweet?
Salty AND sweet!

Thanks, Chris!

To sign up for Chris’s class this summer, head on over


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