Hastings LitFest – Writing for Writers


This is the first of a series of blogs also published on the official blog of Hastings LitFest 2018.



The question raised by the tagline “Writing for Writers” is, what is a writer? Can you call yourself a writer if all you’ve written are a few blog posts and some tweets that you’ve been quite proud of? If ‘yes’ then even I am one… although proper writers like Joanne Harris [1] set the bar a little higher and I’ll certainly refer you to her writer’s manifesto: https://paperneverland.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/joanne-harriss-a-writers-manifesto/.

You don’t have to be a published author or have a bylined column in a newspaper to be a writer, but you do have to have the urge to write and to actually, actively, write, which is the hard part.

There are lots of people who’ll tell you how (or how not) to write: by all means read George Orwell and his six rules , but Elmore Leonard’s list goes up to ten and includes the word ”hooptedoodle”, which obviously means his is better.

Spending your time reading rules made by proper authors is one of the many ways you can avoid writing. Others include: arguing with racists on Twitter, clicking on things that say “You’ll be Amazed at What The Dukes Of Hazzard’s Tom Wopat is Doing Now!” [2] and, apparently, Emptying The Tumble Drier. George Eliot only had to overcome Looking Out Of The Window and Having Cold Fingers, so she had it easy by comparison. I’m sure you can find your own writing-avoidance strategies: why not tell us about them in the comments in my my personal blog?


[1] Incidentally, that’s some good early work there by me in a blog about the Hastings LitFest, your blogger quoting an author who is not only not appearing at the LitFest, but of whom I can find no record of any connection to Hastings. In this respect she resembles the great Victorian author George Gissing who spookily probably also shares with her the same number of steps to Kevin Bacon.
[2] Nothing good, apparently.


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