Remember: whether you’re writing fiction, creative non-fiction, graphic novels or a research paper on the mating habits of termites in Madagascar… (wait, whaaaaaat?!) there are some rules of the road that apply to everyone. Today’s post comes from the co-founder of an exciting new literary venture out of Toronto, Nicole Brewer – hold onto your hats, check out her site, and when you’re done – get busy being a writer!
words(on)pages is an organization created by emerging artists for emerging artists, so that we can help writers and poets find the validation and acknowledgement that every budding writer needs to keep going. We want to give writers the opportunity to showcase their work online, in print, and in front of an audience, so that they can value themselves as much as we do. Often, the most difficult part of being an emerging writer is getting yourself noticed, so words(on)pages wants to give you a few pointers on what you can do to help get yourself out there. We may not be experts (this is an art, not a science!) but it’s been working for us.
Take yourself seriously. If you don’t take yourself and your craft seriously, why should anybody else? Write like it’s your job. Write every day, regardless of inspiration or lack thereof. Writing isn’t just about writing, it’s about honing your craft, and that means rereading and editing anything you’ve already written. Don’t say you “want to be a writer,” say you are a writer, and participate fully in that vocation. Realize that a great deal of what you write will never see the light of day, and that’s okay. It’s practice, it’s improvement, it’s proving yourself. You don’t need to pump out War and Peace every single day, just write another paragraph of your novel, another verse for your poem, another entry in your journal. If you can’t write, edit. Still, you’re only human, so don’t beat yourself up for the days life gets in the way. Even the most successful writers need to have a day job.
Read. Read everything. Don’t dismiss anything because of its reputation, good or bad—don’t feel like you should hate a book because it’s commercial, don’t feel like you should love it because it won the GG. Read critically and feel confident in your literary opinions, but don’t let those opinions define what you read. As someone trying to find a place in CanLit, you need to know exactly what CanLit publishers have been doing. On those days when you’re having a hard time finding inspiration, your library should be the place you look for it—you won’t get better as a writer if you aren’t conscious of what came before you. Don’t be afraid to embrace different voices while you’re trying to find your own: there’s nothing wrong with paying homage, just don’t be a rip-off artist. Continue reading