Monica Byrne: Find out more about...

Developing as a writer

Monica has some core writing practices she relies on:

"I think the fundamental practice of being an artist or a writer is to make as much work as possible, and especially if you're a writer, you need to write every day and read every day. I know there are people who disagree with me on that, but you can't go wrong, put it that way. If you read every day and write every day, and by write every day, I just mean writing morning pages. I just did mine. To everyone, I'm showing my notebook that I write in every day, and now I have, let's see, 20 years' worth of these books, 20 years, and that's all practice, and that practice has led me to trust my writing and to trust my opinions."

Monica is not alone in believing that a routine is critical for a writer. But every writer has to create the routine that works best for her. Read about the routines of writers including Maya Angelou, Susan Sontag, and Joan Didion. Trying to create your own routine? Check out tips for creating your own routine here and here. Read about past GLYandM guest Wendy McClure’s writing routine- a different routine for a different writer.

Monica also practiced her craft at the Clarion workshop, a six-week intensive workshop focused on writing science fiction and fantasy. There are a wide range of conferences, residencies, and workshops for all kinds of writing.

Making a living as a writer

Monica writes candidly about the economics of being a full-time writer on her blog. She also wrote about her ongoing quest to make a living as an artist on the TED blog. Hear her explain her approach in her Patreon video:

Wondering about the image on her shirt?  It’s the logo for the Little Green Pig theater, where Monica writes and performs.

Representation in Literature

Monica told us about her view that science fiction has great potential to reframe what stories are worth telling. Her piece in The Atlantic, “Why Literature Still Needs More Non-White, Non-Male Heroes,” further explores this idea. In her own fiction, Monica writes characters who are just that. For her debut novel, The Girls in the Road, she won the Tiptree Award, “an award encouraging the exploration and expansion of gender.” The award is named for James Tiptree, Jr., the pseudonym of science fiction writer Alice B. Sheldon.


Read our interview with Monica and check out her reading picks.