Words of Wisdom From the San Francisco Writers Conference

I can’t believe it’s already been three whole weeks since the San Francisco Writers Conference! While Real Life has threatened to swallow me whole (and spit me out), I’ve been slowly unearthing all of the wonderful little tidbits of information I had gathered during my three and a half days at the conference.

Today, I decided to open up my iPhone and check my notes. Yes, this year, I took notes on my iPhone. This compact device does a lot more than remind me when it’s my turn for Scramble. It even does more than provide soothing hits of the ’60’s on Pandora. The bonus is that it’s small, discreet, and makes more sense to use for note taking, especially if you’re situated at a crowded table overladen with the best banquet food ever, with nine other people.

I pulled out the trusty iPhone when Lisa See spoke. She gave a writer’s checklist, of which I’ll give the Cliff Notes version:

1. Write what you know. (We know.)

2. Start where you are. (Sometimes we don’t know, but it makes sense.)

3. Write a thousand words a day. (I’m soooo bad at this. But yes, I’m kicking myself in the rear.)

4. Research. (It’s necessary, especially if you don’t start at No. 1.)

5. Write a charming note a day. (She means to fellow authors, to people who have helped you, to people you admire. In my case, I’m trying to write a charming thank you note a week, which is one more than I have before.)

6. Edit. (Absolutely necessary.)

7. Read books by people who inspire you. (I do!)

8. Support your local bookstores. (I wish there were local bookstores here. I’m having a difficult enough time supporting the big box stores.)

9. Be who you are. (You can’t write like JK Rowling because you’re not JK Rowling.)

10. Voice and authenticity. (? I can’t remember what she said here. I know. Old age.)

11. Be passionate. (Most artists are.)

12. Enjoy the moment. (Hell, yes!)

13. Remember the things that matter. (Meaning it’s not the heady rush of publishing, or even of writing. Sometimes the things that matter are the little things, the things that have nothing to do with writing. REMEMBER.)

14. Writing isn’t easy. (Who said it was?)

15. Cut to the bone. (Because we all know we don’t want the gristle.)

16. The word and your voice.

17. Art is the heartbeat of the artist. (YES!)

I’ll admit, some of the list items don’t make a lot of sense, but I was typing quickly and trying to gobble down dessert. However, the first five are the most important.

I’m not going to erase my iPhone note. Instead, I think I’ll set an alarm to remind myself to look at it at least once a week.

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One Response

  1. Set one for me too. This is good stuff.

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