Event report

Conference 2012 - Lessons From an Accidental Novelist

Report published 31 July 2012

I was roused from my End-of-Conference hangover by a bubbly, inspiring and chocolate-bearing Miranda Dickinson. This talk was excellent, I feel anyone in the NWS would benefit from the advice, and also published authors who might be having doubts about their writing. (And let’s face it, who doesn’t have those?)

Here are Miranda’s top tips.

1. If you write, you are a writer. Doesn’t matter if you’re published/unpublished/have an agent/book deal or not.

2. Write for you, no matter what. Write about what you love, be passionate about it.

3. The importance of the Tingle Factor and Whoop-inducer. Writing is hard, so make a note every time you write something you’re really proud of, or receive a really nice response from a reader and keep it close to hand

4. Be Brave, be Bold, be Visible. The bravest thing you can do is to write something you believe in. The boldest thing you can do is to show it to somebody else. Get out there, facebook, blog, twitter, join writers’ groups.

5. Don’t apologise. Writing is not a vanity project or unstable career choice. Believe in your writing, and your ability to captivate readers. Never apologize for who you are, what you do and what is important to you.

6. Ignore the Evil Sayers of DOOOOOOOOM! You know them. The ones who laugh when you say you’re writing a novel, remind you of the impossibility of getting published, who accuse you of not being a ‘proper writer’ because you write about love and relationships.

7. Be your novel’s biggest fan. It can be hard when you’re trying to incorporate notes from agents/publishers, or appeal to a certain market. Believe in your story, your characters, your writing, and get the points across that you’re passionate about.

8. Never stop being a wide-eyed student. Read anything and everything. Never stop learning and delighting in what you find. Writing – like life - is a constant journey.

9. Write like you’ve made it already. Nobody knows your story like you do and there is no better person to tell the stories in your head than you. Believing in your writing ability is the key to creating amazing work – and staying sane while doing it!

10. Celebrate often: the “PARTY ON” Principle. Consider everything positive as a reason to party, from finishing a tricky sentence to signing a book deal. Do a happy dance, crack open a bottle of wine. Treat yourself in the same way you would a dear friend.

It’s a shame this talk was a Sunday “extra” session as many might have missed it. But thanks so much to Miranda for allowing me to write up her top tips for the benefit of all!

The session pulled me from my usual confidence-bashing thoughts, “How am I real writer, I’m not published yet? How did I ever think I could write?”, gave me a warm verbal hug and sent me happily on my journey as a writer.

Yes, I am a real writer.

Written by Caroline Roberts
First Conference, New Writers’ Scheme

It's a fact

In 2013, romance accounted for 8% of all book sales and 13% of all fiction book sales by volume.