Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Liz Worth's blog

The thing that terrifies me the most about writing

It came out of me the in a journal entry the other day, a fear I know has been swimming around inside for years now, but one that I never fully articulated, or maybe even fully acknowledged, until it was right in front of my face:

I don’t know if I want to write forever if it always feels like such an unsustainable way of living.

There seems to be a common thread among writers as I’ve so often heard people say that they write because they have to. Because it fills a need that they have, or brings them enjoyment.

And I think this is something that anyone who starts to pursue professional writing starts to figure out pretty quickly if they haven’t already. Because the money doesn’t show up for a lot of writers, so that can’t be the motivation. Neither can fame.

Literary readings: Do you have to do them?

Picking up from where I left off about book launches, today I’m talking about whether writers really need to read from their work to promote it.

Books are sometimes (often?) tricky things to sell. There is major competition out there and figuring out how to stand out, how to get someone to walk into a bookstore and say, “I want to buy THAT author’s book” is a big question.

Doing readings is a big part of book promotion and a lot of publishers ask their writers to make appearances at literary nights and, if you’re lucky, festivals and other events.

How to start an author blog

A lot’s been made about “author platforms” over the past few years. Marketers love jargon and “platform” is just another word for presence.

“The line between writer and creative entrepreneur is thinning all the time. Soon it might just disappear,” writes novelist and blogger Justine Musk, who has long been encouraging writers to start blogging well before they are even published.

The problem with working for free

When I first started writing, I took any opportunities I could.

First, I interned at a magazine for a high co-op program. Later, I wrote CD reviews for free, got a few poems published in some zines, and started to figure out how to become a freelance writer (and eventually get paid for it).

It made sense at the time because I was trying to build up my portfolio with the hopes of one day going to journalism school. I had a goal attached to it all and I saw it as a short-term solution.

How spending time with your influences helps overcome creative blocks

It happens to everyone: Everything is humming along nicely with a project and then, bam! You have no idea where to go next. The words aren’t coming anymore, the ideas have stalled, and your confidence is shaken.

This is where it can help to step back and revisit your influences.

Is there a specific project or person who inspired what you’re currently working on? Re-read some of their work. Go to a museum to look at their art.

Or just go to a museum and look at anyone’s art for afternoon.

Reconnecting with your sources of inspiration can help you reconnect with yourself. Sometimes it just helps to get away from our same-old desks and same-old chairs and get a different perspective for a while. Writing is a marathon and sometimes you want to get off the course for a while.

Why I don’t want you to buy my book (from me)

“I want to buy your book, but I want to do in a way where you’ll get the most money. Should I buy it from you?”

I love this question. It’s one of I’ve had several times over the years from well-meaning friends and acquaintances.

I love it because it shows that people actually want to see others succeed and do well and be rewarded for their work. And it shows that people care about where their money and the impact that it has.

So of course, they’re usually surprised when I tell them I would prefer that they buy it from a store or online instead of from me.

Why your book doesn't really need a launch party

A couple of years ago, I finally admitted something to myself:

I hate organizing launch parties.

Like, completely just no.

I love coming up with ideas for them. I love talking about them. I love making posters or flyers for them. I love figuring out what will happen at them.

But I have the pressure that goes along with getting people to come out.

Maybe that’s the price of living in a big city. Sure, we have so much freedom when it comes to running with our ideas and making things happen. But we’re also competing with every other event that’s happening every single night.

Finding inspiration in Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol is arguably one of the most quotable artists to have lived.

And although much mystery and controversy surrounds his powerful legacy, there is so much inspiration that can be drawn from his statements.

How tarot can help you with your writing

I was 13 the first time I tried to see the future in a playing card.

I’d been at the grocery store with my parents, and in the checkout line was a small rack of books. I was immediately drawn to one called The Little Book of Fortune Telling. For a mere 89 cents, my life would be changed forever.

I spent that summer studying the section on cartomancy – divination using playing cards – while Sally Jessie Raphael and Jenny Jones chatted on in the background. Needless to say, it was a great summer.

The importance of creative rituals

“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.”
- Chuck Close

For years now I’ve used a very simple way to mark the moment when it’s time to write: I light a stick of incense.

There is something very primal and powerful in the act of setting something aflame, whether it’s incense or a candle or some sage. It sets a meditative, purposeful mood that brings on a certain kind of focus and atmosphere.

So when my incense starts, that means my writing starts – no matter what. I don’t wait for words to appear. I just get to work.

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