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Emerging Writers’ Festival Town Hall Conference: Seven Enviable Lines

I thought the first panel of the Town Hall conference deserved a post of its own; the five festival ambassadors giving seven pieces of advice they wishes they had at the beginning of their careers.

All were interesting, engaging, funny in their own ways and above all else, had stellar advice.

My best bud Emily Maguire went first (I feel I can say that, given last night :P) and her seven tips were:

  • Make friends with writers
  • A good editor is a gift
  • People will confuse you with your characters – don’t take it personally
  • Ignore critics
  • Only write what you’re passionate about
  • Writing full time may seem like The Dream but it might not take you a better writer: it may make you worse
  • There is no one truth path

Christy Dena

  • There will be people that won’t get you and what you do, and that’s okay
  • Mentoring people won’t necessarily make you improve
  • Test new projects out on others
  • Your peers are not your audience
  • Don’t wait for both time and money as they’ll never come together
  • Don’t take fear-based advice

Ali Alizadeh

  • Writer’s write (therefore not flapping about doing everything but writing)
  • Careerism is unnecessary – you should be too busy writing or reading
  • Writing is an extension of political commitment – ‘think [you] could change the world’ through your writing
  • Choose your friends and enemies wisely
  • Self-publish are not dirty words
  • Writers write about all sorts of things

 Anita Sethi

  • Don’t procrastinate
  • Don’t be afraid
  • Don’t wait for inspiration
  • Connections and networking is important
  • Show don’t tell
  • Read
  • Turn failure into fuel
  • Feel free to ignore advice; you can follow your own path

Lawrence Leung

  • Let yourself be bullied/have bad experience – it will suck in the short-term but in the long-term be great. Turn trauma into creativity
  • Be a pretentious fan of comedy
  • Don’t procrastinate
  • Keep a notebook
  • Never admit your faking your way through: fear is good, it shows you still care about your work
  • Never read reviews
  • Stay true to your voice, write for yourself
  • Listen to feedback but don’t let it rule you
  • Keep writing, if you want to no-one can stop you

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been told?

One thought on “Emerging Writers’ Festival Town Hall Conference: Seven Enviable Lines

  1. When I read Stephen King’s book about writing, I thought it was full of great advice, but the best piece was, if you want to write, read. And the second best was, write everyday.

    My favourite advice ever, is the only way is through. Just keep on going, you’ll get through it – whatever ‘it’ is! A good reminder that the bad times will soon be bad memories, and there will be more good times ahead.

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