Months back, I was invited to participate in the Ann Arbor Book Festival’s writers conference. I’ve spoken at such events before, and I’ve always made it a point to listen to other writers’ seminars. This time, my time constraints didn’t allow me to attend any other programs except my own. But I think I got more out of the session than the other writers got from me!

For once, I wasn’t talking about the subject of The Selling of the American Economy. I was talking about the process that went into writing it, as well as my other books, including The End of Detroit. I took lots of questions, but then I turned the tables on the group and asked them, “what are you writing about?”

It was fascinating to hear the projects that people are working on — memoir, poetry, investigations — and to know that some people are still brainstorming while others are three-quarters of the way through. Everyone took time to share their love of writing and to talk about the challenges of doing it for love and for a living. Some people clearly intend to write as a career; others are using writing as an outlet and a way to understand themselves and their families.

I left feeling recharged and excited. I’d encourage anyone who wants to write to simply do that. Write. Whether it’s for a living, as an escape, as a way to puzzle out solutions to life’s issues. Forming your thoughts and putting them down on paper, a computer screen or speaking them aloud is a way to find clarity. If you can inform others as a result, that is an additional reward.

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