Last weekend, Chicago Writers Conference participated in the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest: Printers Row Lit Fest. We hosted a panel with writers William Shunn, Wesley Chu, and Holly McDowell who gave the audience insight into their day-to-day lives as writers. The authors managed to pack a wealth of information in the 45 minute slot, and we thank them for the tips and advice they offered. Here are the top three lessons we learned from them:
1. Timing Is Everything
William, Wesley, and Holly were all very aware of the specific times in the day when they were most productive. Both William and Holly like to write in the mornings, while Wesley preferred the evening. All three stressed that sitting at your laptop in those moments is vital. “I know that if I don’t write in the mornings, it’s not going to happen later in the day,” said Holly.
2. “Writing Is Thinking”
William Shunn shared that quote, but our other two panelists couldn’t agree more. While they do some planning before a new project, they also mentioned that the best way to figure out the story was to write it. Wesley, for example, likes to write a few chapters as a way of brainstorming characters and plot before he outlines.
3. Know Thyself
Holly needs to be warm in order to write. William works on fiction at cafes, but blogs in his home office. Wesley likes to gamble online during breaks. In other words, all three found unique and individual ways to motivate themselves, and keep typing away.
We want to give a huge thanks to Holly, Wesley, and William for being so engaging and entertaining! A big thanks to all who attended as well!