Creative writing can be a fun process, but it can be difficult to find inspiration. Every writer has his or her own creative writing process and his or her own ways of finding inspiration.
Joy Jordan-Lake, author of this year’s Common Reader, Blue Hole Back Home, shared her tips and tricks at a creative writing lecture Nov. 10 on the Washington Street Campus. Jordan-Lake told beginning writers they should listen to criticism and use it to better their writing.
“Writers need to have a thick skin and big ears,” she said.
Confidence also is important, she said. Most writers are shy and do not have much confidence, she said, but they need to build confidence to be able to handle rejections that will come.
While many writers get rejections at first, hope is not lost. Jordan-Lake takes the feedback given in the rejections and uses it to make the piece better. She said not to discount affirmations either, because writers need to embrace them and listen when someone says their writing is good.
“As a writer, you need to be willing to listen to the wisdom of the writing community” she said.
Jordan-Lake also had a few pointers for finding inspiration.
The first was to keep writing. Even if what is written isn’t any good, the act of sitting down and writing can get the creative juices running.
Being realistic about the amount of time and determination writing takes is a key to being successful. A writer cannot sit around and wait for inspiration; they have to find it.
“Listen to life!” she said. “No human emotion is wasted.”
When picking the topics for her books, she said, she chooses ideas and themes she is passionate about. Jordan-Lake said she does not choose a topic specifically to sell a profitable book or to set an agenda.
If a writer picks a topic he or she is passionate about, then it can be molded around the audience.
“When writing about something to set an agenda, the audience will know,” she said.
Aspiring writers must be tenacious and have perseverance. Writers who have those qualities will be more likely to succeed.
Writing as a profession is not for someone who is easily put off by hard work or speed bumps along the way. Jordan-Lake said she received many rejection letters but that keeping her determination is what brought her into a successful writing career.
She said she has just finished writing her sixth book, another novel.