Faber Session 11 – Guest Tutor Jill Dawson

I’ve had a real hectic few days so I am behind with blog reading….I will catch up today I promise, so bear with me. πŸ™‚

It was bloody freezing yesterday morning as I made my way to central London at 8am. I don’t normally have breakfast, but yesterday, I was desperate πŸ˜‰


Today our guest tutor was Jill Dawson who’s book, Lucky Bunny I’m reading at the moment (and really enjoying!).

We all agreed that Jill’s passion and enthusiasm for writing was infectious and inspiring. A thoroughly enjoyable session where I made lots of notes (you know me! Lol). Here’s a few snippets that I wrote down that I found interesting and helpful πŸ™‚

The best way to be motivated to write is to be in love with it!

How to deal with rejection: Don’t dwell on it, it will infect your writing and the feeling of failure will go into your work.

Have a monthly goal (word count) rather than a daily or weekly one. Make your goals manageable.

Time your ideal writing session then duplicate it. Find what works for you.

Jeanette Winterson told Jill that her first novel was crap, she’s grateful for that now. Peter Carey had written 4 or 5 novels before his first that was published. Jill beleives that ALL writers have at least written 1 book that will never be published. The book you’re working on now may not be THE ONE, it might be your training ground.

Jill keeps a journal while shes writing a novel, where she reflects on how she feels and works out problems.

Learn to tolerate chaos. Get the writing done first then worry about the other things you have to do in your life!

Ask yourself when you read through your first draft – Is it alive? (Something interesting or exciting) or Is it dead? (Something boring or flat).

And finally, my favourite (and also that of my tutors!)

“Know the rules but have none.”

I made 8 pages of notes! Lol….I just couldn’t help it, she was brilliant! πŸ™‚

I love this whole idea of keeping a writing journal! Jill says it helps her work out her own processes and is like talking to herself. I’m a huge fan of journal keeping, but I’ve never tried using it just for my novel writing. Have you ever used a journal to work out problems with your writing? I’d be interested to hear if anyone has. I think I might just give it a go πŸ˜‰

26 thoughts on “Faber Session 11 – Guest Tutor Jill Dawson

  1. You know, I use my own journal to write out my writing issues. What a great blog! Jill has great advice. Past books are great training ground. I began writing so young. My first actual novel, that I put effort into, I wrote in the eighth grade. Would you believe that a teacher permitted my friend to read it and use it as a book report? I am serious.

    Jill is right. It is amazing how much writers can learn. Thank you Vikki.

    And, I’ve been MIA, too.


      • My thoughts keep me awake sometimes like an ADHD child following me around. Ideas pop up at random times. They might be story ideas, or a particular part of a story I want to edit. I’ll figure out how I want to fix it at the strangest times. Journaling helps me to put my planning and ideas into perspective.

        No, I am afraid Eight Friends, One Heart (seriously) had its time. It reached its fame as an eighth grade book report. πŸ™‚

        You do a great job blogging. I enjoy your posts. I am behind in writing and reading due to health and work reasons, but I always learn so much. This post was very insightful!


  2. The point about failure seems like a solid one. I’d like to fall back in love with my writing and revert to that moment because right now I’m feeling underwhelmed with it.

    As for the journaling, it’s not something I’ve considered during the actual writing process. It would be interesting to try though. Even if its just writing my feelings about the piece


    • Oh honey (((((hugs)))))

      What do you think it would take for you to fall back in love with it?

      Ahhhhh, so THAT might help? That’s basically what Jill uses it for so give it a go. We’ll compare notes at a later date. I’m starting tomorrow πŸ™‚



    • I’ve done lots of personal journalling Dianne, but not had one that’s strictly about my writing. I’m gunna give it a go though πŸ˜‰

      Ahhhh, that is definitely a quote that should be printed out and pinned above the old desk don’t you think?

      Thanks honey xx


  3. Does a notepad at the side of my laptop count as journaling? I’d actually be really interested to learn more about this point because I do make lots of points, lists and ideas in written form at the side of me as I’m working and it seems to help so journaling could work well for me. I love your posts Vikki. Thank you for sharing what you are doing.


  4. Great advice and thanks for sharing it. My favourite is “learn to tolerate chaos…..” Several of my successful writing friends are so focussed and put their writing first. I’ve always struggled with that, as I tend to do all the other jobs before I write. And get distracted.


  5. Learn to tolerate chaos – that’s a piece of advice I need to follow. I often put off writing because I’m overcome by guilt at all the things that need doing around the house. I suppose to be successful, the writing has to come first!


  6. That’s really comforting that Jill Dawson says that every published author has written at least one novel that can never be published — we all need to practice somewhere! πŸ™‚ That’s also great advice to ask yourself if the writing feels alive while reading through a first draft. Thanks for sharing this!


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