Merilyn Simonds, Chair, Writers Union of Canada (Ginny Simonds)
Make time every day to write. The same time every day, if possible. The discipline of daily practice is part of a musician's life, an athlete's life, and part of every successful artist's life, too.
—Merilyn Simonds, chair of the Writers Union of Canada
Merilyn Simonds is the chair of the Writers Union of Canada and she is on an 18 city tour addressing issues of interest to writers. The discussions will address copyright, eBooks, Library & Archives Canada, the digital landscape and more.
Simonds was born in Winnipeg, spent her childhood in Brazil and now lives in southwestern Ontario where she gardens, writes and tends to her chickens.
As well as being the chair of the Writers Union of Canada, she teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia and is artistic director of the Kingston Writers Festival.
Since Simonds has also published 16 books, SCENE asked her to provide us with some writing tips.
10 Tips for Writers
1. Turn off the phone, all of them. To write, you have to be able to think without interruption.
2. Shut down your email. Typing away at the keyboard, putting words into sentences, makes you feel like a writer without actually being one, a very dangerous state of affairs. Set a time for checking your email after your writing is done and stick to it.
3. Unplug the television. If you can't do that, then refuse the cable/satellite guy. Wean yourself off television periodically, if not permanently. It will help cleanse you of received ideas and images.
4. Make time every day to write. The same time every day, if possible. The discipline of daily practice is part of a musician's life, an athlete's life, and part of every successful artist's life, too.
5. Announce your writing time to family and friends. Tell them you mean it. Negotiate quiet time. Loved ones will be supportive. They will.
6. Make a space for yourself, a private place, even if it's just a closet. Alice Munro used to write in the laundry room on top of the washing machine. You need to be able to shut out the external world so your interior world can grow. And you need the continuity of having your own writing place, so that when you sit down, your brain and your heart will know: now it's time to write.
7. Read. Read. Read. Did I say read? Read some more.
8. Support you local bookstore and your local library. Writers need readers.
9. Give books to your family and friends. Reading engages the heart, the mind, and the imagination like no other art form.
10. Join the conversation.
You can join the conversation Thursday, November 1 at 5 p.m. at McNally Robinson.