REVIEW: “Congratulations on Learning to Juggle — Now Get on the Unicycle” by Daryl Gregory

Review of Daryl Gregory, “Congratulations on Learning to Juggle — Now Get on the Unicycle”, in Tod McCoy and M. Huw Evans, eds., Pocket Workshop: Essays on Living as a Writer (Hydra House Clarion West Writers Workshop, 2021): 127-131 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

Like Skillingstead’s piece, Gregory’s essay is all about how hard it is to be a writer — in the most supporting and uplifting way possible. As he points out, “this continuing, ever-morphing, and escalating difficulty is a sign that you’re on the right track” (p. 127). Not only does Gregory discuss the difficulty of writing in a sympathetic and caring way, his piece contains many concrete things that he does to get past and to lean into that hardness in his own writing. Not everything he does will work for everyone, but if you’re like me and really benefit from hearing about other writers’ processes, this is a very useful essay on that count. And so too is the reminder at the very end that “there’s great satisfaction in creating something beautiful, and joy in knowing you can try again” (p. 130).

You can try again.