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Diane Hopkins: 'Stimulating and Nourishing'

Diane Hopkins stayed at KSP Writers' Centre as a First Edition Fellow in February 2022.

'My stay at KSP Writers’ Centre was like attending a week-long church for writing. Not only is it a place of devotion to books and stories and words, which can almost be felt in the walls of its historic buildings, staying in the other cabins and attending the writing groups hosted there are fellow devotees to meet and talk to about all things writing. Even Fern, the gardener, is a poet. The life of a writer can sometimes feel like a solitary activity and any place that makes you feel less of an alien in your call to write is more than helpful–it’s a sanctuary.

It was interesting to notice that spending a week at KSP allowed me to sink into the daily routine and life of a writer in a way I’ve never been able to do before at home. Rising each morning to write at the big desk in my cabin overlooking a mature gum tree inhabited by a busy swarm of bees, I was able to dig deeper into the book I am writing and see things I hadn’t seen before. Knowing my only job was to write that day gave me a sharper focus and, as a result, I had several breakthrough moments where I solved problems with my manuscript that had previously confused me. By the end of my stay, I had more fully embodied the identity of ‘writer’ and was able to see with greater clarity the path forward with my book.

My interaction with other writers was a valuable part of my time at KSP. A mentor showed me how to strengthen my writing with such accuracy and insight that I was able to begin editing my own writing with new eyes. I also received important feedback from fellow writers of one of the regular writing groups, which validated the new direction I was exploring in my writing and boosted my confidence about how to further develop my craft. As a result, my writing improved so rapidly during those days that I felt like I had become a better writer in just one week. Regular chats with the two other residents staying in the other cabins were both creatively stimulating and nourishing, reminding me that I am not alone in this ambitious act of writing a book. And that I am part of a flourishing, local writing community here–a place where all writers can belong.'

Top Ten Writing Tips

  1. Never judge your writing ability based on first drafts. Learn to use them as resource material for the more polished writing that will come afterward.

  2. Read as much as you can. Study the craft of other books and learn through osmosis.

  3. Have a daily or almost daily writing practice. Let it be an easy habit rather than a challenging discipline.

  4. Develop a writing voice based on your strengths. Get to know what you do well.

  5. Seek constructive feedback so you know what and how to improve.

  6. Read your writing out loud to check its rhythm and spot repetition.

  7. Find inspiration from other sources–books, blogs, podcasts. Ideas spark easily when you’re immersed in a topic.

  8. Always look for the joy that writing brings you. Avoid staying focused on what’s not working.

  9. When you can’t write, journal or think about your writing. Keep it present in your mind.

  10. Connect with other writers as much as possible. Find a writing ‘home’ where you can belong.

~ Diane Hopkins 2022

You can follow Diane on Instagram.


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