heather-and-hollyhock asked: Hello. I'm in no doubt that you've heard this before, but I must say that I very much like your works. Are there any tips you could give to a budding young writer? Also, how did you discover your talent? Thank you, sorry for the questions.
I have no great, original insights; but all these points, which you probably know already, have kept me warm over the years:
1. All poetry from the heart is worth writing, but not all poetry is worth reading. Ask yourself, is it poetry or just a diary entry?
2. Don’t post immediately, give it the overnight test. Edit. Revise. Get it shorter. Say what you want to say succinctly, where every single word counts.
3. Listen to criticism that will ultimately make your work stronger, even if it hurts at the time. Ignore unhelpful criticism that doesn’t ring true to you. You will know the difference. If one person calls you a donkey, that’s just their opinion. If 20 people call you a donkey, then take a look at yourself: you’ve got long ears and a taste for carrots.
4. Write every day if you want to be a writer. Practice makes perfect. That’s a cliche but it gets the thought down to the fewest number of words.
5. Check your spelling. If you don’t have enough respect for your reader to smarten yourself up as best you can, then why should they respect you by reading you. Besides, anything which confuses or distracts from the ideas or images you are creating interrupts what you are trying to express.
6. Don’t write to get famous or rich or be popular. Write because you want to communicate or express yourself. If you write something well and no one else reads it, you will still feel a sense of achievement in saying what you wanted to say.
7. Be accepting when someone takes a different meaning from what you wrote and intended - Publish and be damned. You cannot control how people interpret your work. Once it’s out there, it may get twisted and viewed in ways you wouldn’t have imagined.
8. Read others. Read the greats. Experience writing at its best. You have to be inspired before you can be inspiring.
9. Only swear in your writing if it’s really fucking necessary.