Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah Recommends...

“I recommend writers play with different modes of creativity. The first year of my MFA, I got really into designing logos for shirts and hats. The next year, I received a canvas and paint as a gift. These last couple of years, though I have very limited actual musical training (I played the trombone in high school), I've really gotten into music production and I have an MPC on which I try valiantly, but fail over and over again, to make beats. Something about creating, thinking about structure and building something—whether it is a logo or a sixteen-bar musical sequence or painting a purple sunset over water—helps engage my writer muscles. I recommend making things that don’t ever have to be edited or submitted or judged. I recommend delighting in your own ability to make something. When I would paint, I would do it without much self-consciousness. The painting would be there, imperfect, and I could still admire it. Music is a little different, and maybe that is why it has stuck with me: I can apply that meticulous and obsessive editorial spirit, yet still enjoy a freedom in it. Make stuff. Remind yourself that creation is a labor of love.”
—Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Friday Black (Mariner Books, 2018)