All good things come to an end.
But as I told my brilliant young writers at Didcot Girls, this is not the end of their writing journey, it’s just the start.
Last week we met for our last mentoring session and we were ending on a high, with our really inspiring launch event still fresh in our heads, and the writers still glowing from overcoming the challenge of reading their poetry in public, with great success.
But there is one last challenge before the end: keep on writing!
Every writer knows that the going can get tough. It’s easy to give up when you have a string of rejections of your work; when you get writers’ block and feel as if you’ll never write again; when you produce work but keep sinking into a subjective sense of ‘it’s never good enough’.
So I wanted to pass on some last advice, tips, tools and experience, to support these brilliant young people, as we disperse as a group and go our separate writing ways.
And I thought I’d share it with you, too.
So here’s our final take home task. And in the words of the entirely lovable Dory the blue-tang fish (yes, it’s a Finding Nemo reference, folks, it was an inevitability):
‘just keep swim-ming, swim-ming, swim-ming…What do we do? We swim, swim, swim…’
Last Take Away Task: Stay connected and get your work out there!
Read, read READ! Whatever you LOVE! Amazing free sites where you can read (& hear) poetry:
https://www.poetryarchive.org/ SO GOOD!
Of course, check out poetry on YOUTUBE as well, e.g. Academy of American Poets.
- Do writing challenges online that you can send in. This will prompt you to write new work and give you a deadline for completion as well as providing an opportunity for your work to be published and read by others.
- Make it a regular challenge. Set a diary reminder/task on your phone (e.g. for one Saturday in each month). Make that writing challenge day.
- Set up a writing group of your own, with a couple of friends who also want to keep writing. Decide what you want it to look like (face-to-face? Online?), how often you will meet, what you will aim to do each time.
Some examples: it could be a workshop feedback group, a place to share writing opportunities that you’ve found online, somewhere to chat about your writers’ block and ways to overcome it etc…
- Join online writing communities (see below)
Twitter has thriving writing communities. Just remember that if you have a public profile, don’t share personal info. If you’re not sure how to use it, ask a fellow user.
- With writing competitions and magazines/publishers: Always read and stick to submissions guidelines.
Recommended online sites for young writers:
https://ypn.poetrysociety.org.uk/ Young Poets Network. THIS IS GREAT! See the ‘Poetry Opportunities’ tab.
https://www.newwritingsouth.com/jw-home ‘Just words’ is a free online platform for sharing work and receiving feedback. Also they have competitions and workshop groups.
Places to submit/send your work to:
http://www.cuckoowriters.com submissions from writers aged 15-21