Howard Markel’s Talk at Literati

A few weeks ago, I attended a talk at Literati by Howard Markel — a University Pediatrics, History, and English professor and author of “The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek.” While he spent some time talking about his book, the majority of the talk was dedicated to him as an author. For example, Dr. Markel spoke about writing at least 1,000 words per day (apparently an effective cure for writer’s block) and the importance of revising his writing over and over again. And one comment he made directly related to the content of our class: finding an audience. Luckily for Dr. Markel, he said his diverse background in the humanities and medicine makes it easy to switch between writing for different audiences. As a result, it’s easy for him to write for groups ranging from current students and leading figures in the medical field. Additionally, he claimed this background makes it easier to know what people want and don’t want to read. For me, since I lack this breadth of experience, it’s much harder to relate to an audience. For my website, it’s a struggle crafting a piece that’s interesting for history buffs without being too boring for people who aren’t at all interested in the genre. However, I hope that diverse topics I’ve read about can supplement my lack of experience.

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