The cool thing about writers on the Prairies is that they seem to really support one another. To me, it appears as though they do not hesitate to bounce ideas off of each other, ask for feedback on what they've written and offer advice when asked for it. They are generous that way.
So when I heard about Prairie Fire
's Winter Word Fest
I didn't hesitate to ask for a few great writing tips from some of the writers attending.
And man, were they fast! Here they are:
- Mark Abley: Don't be distracted and don't give up. Persevere. Boris Pasternak, the great Russian novelist and poet, once defined talent as "courage in the face of a blank sheet of paper." Good writing seldom comes easy -- alas.
- Mari-Lou Rowley: Read, read, read: poetry, philosophy, science, everything to educate your imagination and then write what intrigues, inspires, excites. Forget what you know, then re-member it through what you don't. Write with your head, heart, ear, gut. Turn off technology. Go feral. Come back when the poem is done.
- Jennifer Still: Be curious. Imaginative. Open. (Take walks without headphones or a screen.) Follow your hunches. Risk seeing the world differently. Read what stirs you. Be astonished.
- Margaret Sweatman: Keep a journal as best as you can. Don't punish yourself if you let the journal go for months at a time, just return to it as soon as you can. Record your dreams (I mean the sleeping kind), and ideas, and conversations and the odd portrait of that boy walking that dog in that rain; all the stuff of life goes into the journal. The second part of this tip is very important: Don't show the journal to anyone; it's yours alone, your private consciousness that hasn't yet been developed for public consumption (not even to be read by your loved ones).
- Andris Taskans: When sending your work to a magazine for the first time, please research your market to ensure that your submission is appropriate. For example, Prairie Fire magazine publishes original poetry, fiction and creative non fiction. It has nothing to do with farming, fire-fighting or fireplaces.