For Writers

I've spent several befuzzled weeks, back in time when I had the first opportunity to teach writing, asking my self if you can learn how to write through a workshop and, from a writer's perspective, if you can teach how to write. My best answer to the two questions was NO, but... and there's always a but, isn't it?
I taught creative writing for many years, in different contexts,  and still doing it and what I immediately acknowledged is that the only way you can teach how to write, is by teaching how to read. A writing class is an opportunity to share a length of time with people who share your same passions, writing and reading, it offers you the chance to have external critics willing to read your work and discuss it with you, it helps you with reading making you notice things you never paid attention too before, it nourishes your creative life by sharing and confronting ideas.

Here below a few tips useful to every writer, beginner or experienced (sometimes we might give things for granted and in writing you should never do so!). 

1. Read, Read Read... yes with capital R. How can you write if you don't read what others wrote before you? How can you master the language if it's not part of your daily routine. Start from the classics... who better than those authors who made it to be on the riding high can say something valuable to us? Read everything but chose carefully in the end what  kind of writing do you wish to do. Quality literature is something that doens't tell you everything, a book should not tell you what to think or how to do it (this is the case of TV), a book is something that helps your own thoughts to take shape through the plot giving you ideas and stimulating you to confront yourself with life issues.
NOTE: I started as a poet and still write poems and I found out that even if you want to be a fiction writer, reading poetry helps you a lot. So try and read poetry, make it as a daily habit. Poetry requires that every single word has to be chosen carefully, a good practice that will give you the skill of being precise and weight your words also in prose. 

2. Write every day. If you wish to become a writer you need to become confident with words, structure, syntax. No matter what you write just takes notes wherever you are, scribble ideas, things that struck you, words you read and hear, people you meet, your dreams, whatever can be a source for your stories.

3. Time is essential. No story is done in just few days or even weeks or months. Sometimes it takes longer. Don't think big, don't think at how much you still have to do, think about what you can do every time you sit at your desk. Be patient and be ready to re write. The real writing is not what you just write down first hand, but what you re write and re write over and over again. Never get tired, is the essential part of writing.

4. Be ready to change what you wrote. I learnt that you should never feel that omnipotent feeling that your sentences are so perfect that you cannot change them. If you feel so, be aware there's something wrong that might spoil your work:
VOICE - try different options when you're writing, for example what voice to use (you can try to write your story using different voices and see in the end what suits better the story).
BEGINNING & END - sometimes the end of our story might be the beginning. Try and make the change and see if it works.

5. Don't be your only critic. Sometimes, especially in the beginning you might need to have an external critic, you can be part of a reading or writing group.

7. Read your work out loud. It will help you to listen to the pace of your work and its flow.

8. Expect your work to be rejected by publisher.That doesn't mean that your work is not valuable. Depends what you write but basically mainstream publishers have a market rule to follow that limits their view and make many excellent stories invisible. To overcome this you must be stubborn and never give up. 

These tips are good for any writer, there are more that are more relevant depending on who do you write for, for example children or YA,and why.

If you want to know more about my writing courses, in residence and online, feel free to contact me.
I'm also preparing a small book that will help writers to get more confindent with aspects of the writing life with prompts and tips based on my teaching and writing experience. 


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