The DPR of Writing – Resilience

What does resilience mean when it comes to writing, and building a successful writing career? Is it something that only a few have? Or can we learn it, increase it, expand it? I'd say resilience is at least as important as perseverance, and it is related, but it's different. The dictionary defines resilience as the ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune - or in terms of a material, what enables it to resume its original shape or position after being bent or compressed or … [Read more...]

The DPR of writing – Perseverance

Over my 20+ years of teaching creative writing, I’ve seen a lot of talented writers. There are usually a couple in every class, students whose writing I look forward to reading, and who actively welcome workshopping and feedback. And yet I have also learned that even the most talented may not have the perseverance to keep writing, no matter what. What does no matter what mean? Well, to me it means to keep writing despite rejections, obviously. When you are sending out stories and poems and … [Read more...]

Discipline and your writing

For many new writers, the idea of applying discipline to their writing is like applying a whip. Who can write under a whip, they protest. It would kill my inspiration! But sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike will eventually kill your writing career. (Notice I said career – if you want to write purely for enjoyment, go for it!) Any writer who has a list of publications will tell you that it can only be achieved by discipline. You may write one or two stories, a handful of poems, a … [Read more...]

The DPR of a Successful Writing Career – Discipline

One of the hardest things to get to grips with, if you want to make writing a career (as in get published) rather than a fun or satisfying hobby, is the discipline required. Author Bryce Courtenay is famous for using the term ‘bum glue’. Quite simply, you have to glue your backside to the chair and write, and do the same again to revise. And revise. No matter how long it takes you or how difficult it seems. It’s easy to turn excuses and procrastination into a block. The blank page can be … [Read more...]

50 ways to leave your writers’ group

Are there 50 ways to leave? Apparently the song says there are when it comes to lovers, but groups aren’t so … straightforward. For a start, there are more of them. Instead of fronting up to one person, you might have to face four, or six, or sixteen. But if you are certain that the time has come to leave, then you have to do it, mainly to save your writing. You might be leaving because the group has failed to deal with a bad egg (and in that case it might be a sinking ship already – excuse … [Read more...]

How to behave at conferences

Conferences make writers nervous. All those editors and agents everywhere – and you feel like if you don’t make your presence felt somehow, you’ll miss the chance to “connect” and be invited to send your manuscript in. It is a desperate feeling. It might be the only conference you can afford to attend all year, so it’s now or never. The trouble is, that desperation can lead you into making a fool of yourself. You might want to read this Publisher’s Weekly article as a starting point - which … [Read more...]

Which writers’ conference is for you?

Every writers’ conference is different. Not just in their theme – writing for children, writing thrillers, getting published – but also in their size and scope. There’s a tendency for writers to think a huge national conference will be better for their career, but you need to ask yourself this question: what does my career need right now? Or even: what do I as  a writer need right now? The answer to this might be “I need professional/personal access to editors and agents so I can try to … [Read more...]

5 reasons to go to a writers’ conference

Writer's conferences are not cheap. Even if the registration is reasonable, often you still need to pay for air fares and/or accommodation, if the conference is not in your home town. So as a writer, why would you bother? 1. You meet other people like yourself. Writers. People who are serious about being professional and getting published. They're not family who complain about being deprived of your attention, or who read your stuff and say, "That's nice" - conference attendees want to talk … [Read more...]

Writing is easy

Writing is easy. And writing is hard, really hard. I sound like I’m contradicting myself, but it’s true. Some parts of writing are easy for some people, and some parts are hard. I love first drafts, and find them easy. I type fast, and I think through the story and characters when I’m not actually typing, so that when I sit down at the keyboard, the words come fast and usually fairly easily. Rewriting is hard for me. This is when I lose faith in my words, wondering how, if they came so … [Read more...]