Writers learn from one of the best

September 16, 2013

By Margaret Cipriano ‘15

Dr. Devin Murphy opened his lecture entitled, “So You Want to Be a Writer,” by admitting that he used to think writing was for inspired geniuses, not someone like himself.

A new addition to the creative writing faculty at Bradley University, Dr. Murphy shared his insights on the craft and profession of writing in a lecture that was part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences lecture series.  Professor Murphy has published twelve stories in just the past year, garnering both praise and publication from high profile publishing venues such as the Notre Dame Review and the New Ohio Review.

Following a stimulating hour long reading, Dr. Murphy opened up the floor to inquisitive students and writers who wanted to learn more about how he found confidence and fulfillment in his career.

“There is a need for courage if you are going to write,” said Dr. Murphy, “there will be a lot of failure, but every once in a while, people will connect with your work.”

While offering advice, Dr. Murphy also covered how to overcome discouragement or criticism, noting that these were equally important in creating great work.

“If you want to write, you have to accept that experience teaches you and that it’s rewarding to learn and to get around speed bumps. Always go at it with an open mind and an open heart and be honest to the material,” he said.

During his presentation, Dr. Murphy also discussed how to develop good characters for a short story and in a later interview, revealed the challenges of being a marketable author.

He emphasized the importance of writing every day as one of the few acts that the writer can control. “Then start submitting to journals or magazines, in print or online. Maintain your connections, have a website, be a teacher, anything to keep you connected to the literary world,” said Dr. Murphy.

Because the lecture series gives faculty the chance to showcase their talents and to start a conversation with students, Dr. Murphy noted the great opportunity his lecture provided, “I was excited to share my work. It was special to have students ask me vibrant, astute questions that I’d ask myself when I was their age. It’s exciting to see people excited about writing—to be able to share that is a real gift.”

Click here to view Dr. Murphy's LAS Lecture.