5 writing tips from the Canada Reads 2016 authors

Last week, the Canada Reads 2016 authors gathered to answer questions from readers. Leah, a high school student from B.C., asked "I want to be a writer. What advice do you have for me?" Below, we've listed the five wonderful writing tips from Canada Reads 2016 authors (watch the video for the entire conversation).

1. From Anita Rau Badami, author of The Hero's Walk:


"Read, read and read a lot. And then, write and write and write. You can't become a writer unless you write a lot and read a lot."

2. From Michael Winter, author of Minister Without Portfolio:


"Find a friend who wants to write as well. It's really encouraging when you have another person who can call you and say, 'How did the writing go?'

If you got somebody and you can get together and read what you've read, you can have a deadline. You don't need a really good listener or a good editor to tell if you if your story is bad; just a friend who will say, 'You know, that scene could be a little shorter.' Doing it all by yourself is really lonely and can be discouraging. Try to find somebody nearby who wants to write with you."

3. From Saleema Nawaz, author of Bone and Bread:


"You don't need to wait for inspiration. You just need to start writing. Don't wait until you have the perfect idea. Don't even wait until you have your voice. You're going to find it by writing."

4. From Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie:


"Don't hear the noes. No matter how many noes you hear. Ignore it.

Be the person who is brave enough to contact every person. Go online, find people's email addresses. Ask people how they got there, ask them, 'What does an agent do?' Ask them, 'Where do I put my work? Never hear the word 'No,' and ask everybody that you can."

5. From Lawrence Hill, author of The Illegal:


"You have to read a lot and write a lot. I sometimes playfully call that GYAIC, which is, 'Get Your Ass In Chair'. If you really want to write, you need to spend a lot of time in that chair and be comfortable.

If you try to write honestly about something that really means something to you, try to express yourself in a way that only you could. Say something only you could say, that reflects your vision, your imagination, your experiences, whatever you conjure up, whether it's real, or imaginary. Make it yours and yours alone. Say something that no other person could possibly say."

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