Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Writing Community and Advice

Since I have been working on my Master of Arts in Writing, I have been introduced to a world that I only hoped existed. Well, this world does exist. I have been given a chance to get involved in a writing community in Townsville, Queensland (Australia). I am loving the idea of hanging out with people who just get it. I have received a lot of excellent advice, attended workshops, attended public readings and met published authors. I have been able to become a member of the local writing center here The Townsville Writers and Publishers Centre. This organization puts together various writing workshops, performances, etc. and offer services to local writers. Here is the best advice I've gotten: join your local writers groups. Get involved in writing communities. 

I have received a lot of awesome advice since beginning my Post-graduate degree. I have been meeting each week with a group of writers at a coffee shop to do writing sessions. We do 25 minute sessions of no talking just writing with 5 to 10 minute breaks between. I find that sometimes the 25 minutes go by quickly and the time is focused so I often get more done in those 25 minutes of writing than I would in an hour. This video from Lyra Communications via YouTube is a short concise version of some of the best writing advice.

The most important piece of advice I've been given over and over again is this: READ LIKE A WRITER. I had a professor begin a lecture on the first day of class with "I hope everyone here is a reader. I will have to ask you if you are not a reader, what are you doing here?" This professor went on to say that she would not have been so harsh with her undergrad students, but at the graduate level, we need to know better. I agree. Reading is so important to writing. As a writer, I'm studying what others have done well and what they haven't done so well and why. I am then able to focus on what I can do that will be good but will set me apart in a different way. How can I manage a certain theme the way so-and-so author did while making it unique? This is what reading like a writer is all about.

Happy reading and happy writing!

(C) Emily D. Wood
Photo via Favim