Cameron Cowan On Writing

Cameron Lee Cowan
5 min readMay 27, 2024

When I started my writing journey in 2005, I wanted to be referred to with fancy words like “essayist” and “author.” It seems oh-so-very superficial now. In this interview and video, I talk about my writing journey and how I became a writer and how I reached beyond the superficial ideas I had about being a writer and really dug into the business and method of doing the work.

Why did you want to be a writer?

I had some pretty romantic notions about writing.

I read every book about writing I could get my hands on.

I had many false starts, I didn’t understand the industry, hell I didn’t understand how the world worked.

Why writing your first book is so damn hard

Writing is hard no matter how you cut it. Finishing any project to completion is a huge lift. When I was finishing The Sweetgrass Saga, it was at the end of my MFA program, I got sick right after residency and lost a week and had to complete about 50k words in three weeks. It took 5, I had to get an extension on that deadline. This involved writing 4–5 hours a day on top of The Cameron Journal. I didn’t unpack for a week, the dishes piled up, I think I had enough pizza boxes…



Cameron Lee Cowan

Creative Director of The Cameron Journal. Culture, political commentary, and much more!