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Waldo Jaquith

Alumnus, 1995

Waldo Jaquith attended the Workshop in songwriting in 1995.

Where are you living and what brought you there?

Charlottesville—I never left.

Where are you working and what do you enjoy about it?

I am a Fellow with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has funded my development of a standard web-based platform for displaying state laws. (Until six weeks ago, I was with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.) I’m very fortunate to have been able to turn a hobby into a profession—I enjoy everything about it.

What do you find yourself most often reading/listening to lately and why?

Thanks to Instapaper—the wonderful iPad app for sharing long-form writing—I read a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction, especially journalism, often from publications and writers of whom I’d never heard before. It’s an exciting time to be a reader.

What are you working on right now and what does it represent in the larger body of your artistic accomplishments?

I’m always, always writing, all nonfiction, mostly on a half dozen different blogs. I don’t know that I’d even classify my writing as “artistic”—I regard it as more of a craft, a constant churn as I learn to communicate and persuade more effectively.

How would you characterize the influence of your YWW experience in your life?

YWW taught me to write for the love of writing. That I don’t need to make a living as a writer. That I don’t need to make any money at all as a writer, but that I just need to write. It’s better to write a dozen lousy paragraphs than to write nothing for the fear of writing badly. You can’t edit nothing.

What’s the best advice you can give a Young Writer (in general or in your specific genre)?

Write, but do not aspire to make a living at it. Write for the love of writing. If money comes to you, great—that’s a rare gift, and you should be grateful.

Where can we find you online?