10th Anniversary Writing Tips from Philippa Dowding

Gargoyle In My Yard Blog Post

10th Anniversary Writing Tips from Philippa Dowding

Posted on April 29 by Philippa Dowding in Fiction, Kids, News
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Somehow, April 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of my first book, The Gargoyle in My Yard (April 2009). Even more astonishing to me, this year I’ll publish my twelfth book! That was a fast decade, and what a fun ride.

 

What have I learned since 2009? Here are my “10 Writing Truths” from ten years of writing:

  1. 1. Write the story that torments you. Writing is a lonely, often difficult journey, so tell stories you love, that inspire or even torment you, and keep you up at night. That passion will carry you through to the finish line.
  2. 2. Finish it. There’s a lot of craft in writing endings. Also, sometimes it’s only when a manuscript is finished that I realize what the story is actually about.
  3. 3. You’ll despair. Creative doubt is a real thing. There may be a writer out there who never doubts their skill … but I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve felt like I have no idea what I’m doing, especially at the start of something new.
  4. 4. Hang out with other writers. Talk books, story, and craft, because writers will get you. They’ll inspire you, too.
  5. 5. Brace yourself: you’ll get a bad review now and then. We all do, it’s part of the job of being a writer. BUT … you’ll get good reviews, too. Here’s a 10% rule: even the most beloved author of all time (insert favourite writer here) has about a 90% approval rating (give or take) on book sites. So on average, roughly 10% of readers won’t like a book, no matter what it is. There will be people who DO love your book though. Embrace them. Thank them. Remember them.
  6. 6. Dance around when you can. An award nomination, a great review, a commendation is something to celebrate. When the good news hits, rejoice!
  7. 7. You’re the weirdest kid you know. Hang on to that. It’s what makes you a writer.
  8. 8. First drafts will always be horrifying. Sorry.
  9. 9. Pace yourself. Writing as a career is a long game. Nurture the creative soil, lie fallow now and then, spend time with good books when you do.
  10. 10. Just keep writing. One of my literary heroes is P.D. James, who published her last book when she was ninety-two. Inspired!

 

It’s been a wonderful ten years. Thank you to readers, my publishing partners, family and friends for all the support along the way. There’s a gargoyle hiding in an apple tree somewhere, who thanks you, too …

 

 

Philippa Dowding

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014
Philippa Dowding photo

Philippa Dowding

Philippa Dowding is an award-winning children’s author, a poet, and a copywriter. Her many literary nominations include the Silver Birch Express, Red Cedar, and Red Maple awards. She lives in Toronto.