Write often, read more. Some of the best words of advice we’ve heard from a fellow writer, lately. Dan Lewis, the great mind behind the highly addictive Now I Know newsletter reflects on reading, learning , writing, and the merits of Harry Potter, baseball, the Simpsons and Star Trek.
First things, first. What’s the last thing you read?
I read a lot — occupational hazard of writing as much as I do! The last book I read was Ready Player One, and I loved it.
Do you have any unusual writing rituals or habits?
I tend to write on the train a lot. It’s quiet and there’s not much else to do.
It’s very easy to focus, but I’ve also fallen asleep a few times with my laptop open — it’s that relaxing!
What book could you read over and over and never get bored?
The Harry Potter series, no doubt. I’ve read each book except for #4 at least twice, and the only reason I haven’t read #4 twice is because I’m reading it to my kids right now. (Well, we took a break for baseball season.)
If you could be mentored by any writer, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
The writers of Star Trek — Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. They’re really good at taking modern ethics and applying it to absurd (i.e. futuristic) situations. I wish I could write fiction like that. I can only seem to do non-fiction.
What genres do you read for pleasure and what genres do you avoid like the plague?
I don’t really have a go-to genre
What books would you put on a required reading list for humanity? Probably Harry Potter, if only because then I could talk about it with basically everyone
Do you have any advice, or reading suggestions for your fellow writers? Write often, read more.
Your Now I Know books and newsletter share short-but-true anecdotes with readers. What inspired you to write non-fiction? Was your writing influenced or inspired by any particular books or authors? I like the quirky non-fiction genre — it appeals to my curious side.
I write about what I like to learn about, not what I like to write about.
Do you have any tips or tricks to researching, selecting and communicating real events in an interesting and brief way? I have an accidental style, where I start writing a story so it sounds like I’m going in one direction and then I go in another. I’m pretty sure I picked this up from the Simpsons — the first few minutes are totally different than the rest of the story line. I’ve replicated that.
Your books came after your daily newsletter. How do you take the success of a popular newsletter and make it into not one, but two successful books? How do you choose which stories to share with your newsletter and which stories to publish in your books? The nice thing about having an email newsletter with a bunch of readers is that book publishers are a little bit more likely to pay attention to you. :)
You’re a big Mets fan. Do you have any of the Mets or Met fans as fans? As far as I know, no Mets read Now I Know. Oh well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dan Lewis is father, husband, Mets fan, and technically, a lawyer. At his day job he works with Cookie Monster and Elmo as the Director of New Media Communications for the Sesame Workshop. His daily email newsletter “Now I Know” shares interesting facts as he learns them with almost 120,000 subscribers. He’s harnassed his passion for all things trivia into two books: Now I Know, and Now I Know More, available for purchase on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com