Living a Writing Life

Welcome to October’s 'Writerly Witterings,' the monthly blog I write to support and inspire other writers. 

This month the focus is on ‘living a writing life,’ and is a topic I frequently refer to in the courses I teach.

Firstly, if you write, you are a writer, whether you are published yet, or not.  Writers write, that is the only criteria you need.

And if you’re not actually doing much in the way of writing, then take a look at my previous post about when life gets in the way of your writing to help you overcome those stumbling blocks.

living a writing life

So firstly, go to a mirror and say loud and proud, I am a writer.

And in future, when you are asked what you ‘do,’ that is the answer you should give.

As well as owning your title, you should also, where possible, live as a writer.  I know you’ll have many other responsibilities, maybe even a full-time job, but you can still be developing and honing your craft, whilst being immersed in the world of writing.  Here’s how:

  • Attend literature festivals. Listen at the feet of authors who are a little bit further along their writing journey.  Watch how they present themselves and listen to what they say about their writing lives and their work.  Be inspired by them.  (Festivals commonly run in October and March.)
  • Attend standalone workshops or courses. The time and monetary commitment you invest in your skill development will reap its own rewards.  I run distance learning courses if distance or a regular time commitment is an issue.
  • Carry a notebook with you always. Writers notice the world around them.  Always be ready to capture new material.
  • Have a writing buddy or be part of a writing circle. Spending time with like-minded people will empower your own career.
  • Keep entering competitions. Perhaps one every month.  Winning or being shortlisted is a great way to boost your confidence and is something you can add to your ‘writing CV.’  It will also get you used to working to deadlines.
  • Give yourself time and space. Schedule it like an appointment.  See my earlier blog post on the subject.  If you need a big block of time, consider coming along to one of the Winter Writing Space Sundays I have organised in Yorkshire.
  • Subscribe to a magazine. It’s a great way of totally embracing all that’s in the world of writing.
  • Take part in something like National Novel Writing Month in November or National Poetry Writing Month in April. The sense of unity with other participants will spur you on and offer a sense of accountability.

And I repeat.  Tell everyone you are a writer.  Tell them what you’re working on.  Enjoy answering questions about your writing life and work in progress. living a writing life

Everyone is intrigued (and a little in awe!) by a writer.  Surround yourself with other authors and poets and keep on keeping on until you live and breathe what you do.  It’s an exciting world for us!

I’d love to hear what works for you.  Feel free to post into the comments box.  See you next month when the focus will be on overcoming self-doubt in your writing life.

With best wishes, Maria

P.S. There are places still available on the ‘Writing for Empowerment’ Retreat I am co-leading with Life Coach Ali Standen in November. Click here for an overview of the weekend.


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