Mastering the Craft of Writing With Dani Shapiro

Dani Shapiro has made her living as a writer for more than 20 years. In this interview we have an in-depth discussion about working artists and what it takes to master the craft of writing. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation 

  • Why there are many trajectories to creative careers
  • Dani's early exposure to working artists
  • The importance of living and rebelling 
  • Why Having a story to tell matters so much
  • Getting back to callings of our youth 
  • How a new generation values of quality of life
  • Why Dani left New York for a quiet country life
  • What it truly means to live a creative life
  • How some of the great things in life happen accidentally
  • The importance of exposing yourself to great artists 
  • Some incredible insights on the best way to start your day
  • Slowing down your mind by reading physical books 
  • Making meaning from loss by telling a resonant story
  • The self doubt that every single writer faces before the page
  • Memory and imagination as engines for storytelling 
  • Being responsible with our gifts as writers 
  • When you feel misunderstood and wounded as a writer
  • The reason you can't hand lack of craftsmanship 
  • Why authors are increasingly responsible for their book's success
  • The role that talent plays in your ability to succeed as a writer


People and Resources  Mentioned

Still Writing: The pleasure and perils of a creative life

Goodbye to all that: Writers on loving and leaving New York


Dani Shapiro is the bestselling author of the memoirs Devotion and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, and has been widely anthologized. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, The New School and Wesleyan University, and she is co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy.

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