Did you make a resolution to write more this year? So Long As You Write, edited by Kerry Ryan, is brimming with inspiration and tips on putting pen to paper.  

We’ve picked five pieces of Kerry’s wisdom to guide you as you step forward into the rest of 2023, and dedicate time to your craft and creativity.

1. How to be a ‘writer’: Call yourself a writer right now

“Do you write? Then call yourself a writer. What emotions do you feel when you tell people you’re a writer? Is it difficult? Why? Get curious, but keep telling people.”

2. Feed your head and feed your heart. 

“Nurture yourself with all kinds of art. Read widely. Be curious about what you like and what you don’t. What do you connect with? What excites you? Develop trust in your own taste. Visit galleries and museums, take yourself away for trips (they don’t have to be fancy). Relish and celebrate your obsessions.”

3. Do your morning pages at any time

“Julia Cameron’s instruction to write three pages every morning – of whatever comes to mind – is solid gold. Ask the millions of people who do it every day. I approach it a little differently: I write my pages before I start on my main project, whatever time of day it is. 

“It’s a lovely way of getting those critical thoughts out of your head and onto the page. Elizabeth Gilbert uses her pages to engage in a direct dialogue with her wise, compassionate self. Sometimes I do that or sometimes I allow the inner critic to get all its shit-talk onto the page then I tear that page out, scrunch it up and start writing. In this way I can begin to play on the page without the inner critic heckling me.”

4. Make time to dream. 

“Believe it or not, you don’t need endless amounts of writing time – but what you do need is dreaming time. If you’re imagining, reflecting, taking notes on your story or non-fiction piece, when you sit down to write – even if it’s only for twenty minutes – most of the work – the imagining – has been done. You won’t have imagined all of it – that would make the writing experience boring – but just enough so that you come to the page with a sense of your story and the people who populate it. So dream and dream big.”

5. Forget about success. 

“Focus on courage. If you’re focussed on success as defined by others then you’ll always be frightened of failure – and that means you won’t take risks, you won’t be vulnerable and you’ll always be tap dancing for others’ approval. You also won’t celebrate each time you skill up or finish something or share something because you’ll be holding out for a future big win.

“Each and every time you sit at your desk and write, celebrate your courage. You deserve it.”

After all this inspiration, you might be looking for a prompt to get your brain whirring. We think this one, from SLAYW contributor Sara Jafari’s essay ‘Finding My Writing Practice’, is the perfect starting place when you’re beginning to build up a writing habit:

“Think about it what’s your why? Home in on it. Remember it. Write it down on a Post-it note and stick it to your wall. Chances are your why is like mine: a need, more than a want. So indulge in it, respect that need. Your why is what will keep you writing, and your practice is what will help you take it seriously and enjoy it.”

You can read all of Kerry’s tips and Sara’s piece in So Long As You Write: Women on Writing. We hope that you find something in there that lights your fire and encourages you to share your story. 


Team DD x

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