5 Tips from 5 Emerging Writers: “Find Your Light”

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We’re kicking of the new year with a few tips from emerging Chicago writers. They are making waves locally and beyond with their short stories, podcasts, and storytelling shows. We’re happy to share with you the tips that have helped them forge the beginning of successful careers.

Ines Bellina (XX, Will Travel): “My favorite tip is, and forever will be, the following: Get. Your. Butt. On. That. Chair. Every single day. There’s no way around it, folks. If you fear the chair, then give yourself permission to write for only five minutes a day. You’ll probably end up writing more than that. And if you don’t, you’ve at least devoted five whole minutes to your craft.”

Tom Harrison (The Skewer): “As a writer, you’re going to find yourself in the suffocating and inescapable thought-prison of “Oh my god, I’m terrible and nothing I ever do will be good enough.” The trick is to react not by giving up, but by going “Oh, cool. Then I guess I can do whatever I want!”

Eric Ruelle (The Skewer): “The director of a play might give an actor the note to, ‘find your light,’ if the actor’s face isn’t visible to the audience – the same goes for emerging writers looking to express their talent. Seek out publishers, performance bookers, and mentors that exemplify the work you do. Notice that, ‘your light,’ might not be the same as other writers’ and appreciate that. Any award, publication, or achievement your peers receive keeps the opportunity for you to write alive. Lastly, if you can’t find it, create your own light and put it out there. Not only is it good for you, but I have found no greater joy than being able to highlight the work of artists I admire with the shows that I’ve produced over the years.”

Kayla Schwalbe (Under 30/Over 60 with CWC): “My favorite advice is from Anne Lamott, in her book Bird by Bird: “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”

Ted Wesenberg (Northwestern MFA): “Here’s my favorite writing tip: Write every single day.”


In summary: if you want to succeed as a writer, be a writer. Ignore your fears. Forgo procrastination. Find your community. Find your support. Find a way to put your pen to the page. For more writing tips and news, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. For bimonthly tips and tricks on how to further your writing career, sign up for our newsletter.
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