Greatest Hits of the Heart


Patience. Curiosity. Repetition. Looking again and again. Not imposing a story line. Letting composition emerge through pattern, rhythm, shape, sound, movement. Occasionally … you hit upon a moment of grace. You can’t plan for it. You just have to practice enough so that you’re ready when it comes.

The Atlantic has compiled a list of its best writing advice from this year’s “By Heart,” a series about all things bookish. The included guidance from Mary-Beth Hughes, Steven Pinker, Jesse Ball, Kevin Barry, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Karl Ove Knausgaard will inspire any writer looking for a different perspective on their craft.

Stephanie Bento is a writer, classical cellist, and photographer living in Washington, DC. In her writing, she is interested in exploring the musicality of sound and form, and our connection to time and place. Find out more about her creative work at, or say hello/bonjour on Twitter @saudadebelle. More from this author →