A journey begins with a single step – one foot in front of the other. And so must a writer’s journey begin with the stroke of a pen or the click of a keyboard – one word in front of the other.
I felt some trepidation as I prepared for my first foray into social media. What topic of discussion would be worthy of the distinguished title, “first blog post”?
As fate would have it, after clicking “follow” Globe Books, my new Twitter account served up a video interview featuring four Giller Prize winners giving advice to aspiring writers. Margaret Atwood, Linden MacIntyre, Austin Clarke, and M.G Vassangi each distilled their experience into a few succinct and impacting comments.
These are the five bits of wisdom that I will carry forward:
1. Write often, apply the craft, rework your writing, and then edit. Writing should be as routine as breakfast, lunch and dinner so when you sit down with pen in hand or keyboard on lap, the words begin to flow.
2. If you wait for the perfect time to write, you’ll wait forever. The need to tell the story should compel you to write in every available moment on any available surface: old envelopes, the margins of the newspaper, a laptop keyboard, or paper towels at the gym.
3. The silent moments are necessary for productive writing and should not be allowed to slip by unused. If they don’t happen naturally, create them.
4. Your experience of a community can inform your writing. Think of the communities, both large and small, that you are a part of — a culture, a city, a neighbourhood, or an organization. .
5. Keep the aspiring in aspiring author. Aspiring means to seek ambitiously, especially something of high value, so keep that momentum going. Write voraciously and direct your efforts toward a specific goal.
We all start somewhere, whether it is our first blog post, first novel, or first short story submission. Even a Giller Prize winner must have followed his or her own advice and aspired to take that first of many steps, So here I go. First step, press “publish”!
What advice has inspired your writing life? I’d love to hear from you.
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