Want to be like us? Here’s your guide to being a writer

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With writing classes, critique workshops and hundreds of published authors in the UAE on hand to give advice, getting into creative writing isn’t as hard as you’d imagine.

Want to write but don’t know how or where to begin?
If the only kind of writing you find yourself doing these days is a shopping list, then try there a plenty of ways to let out your creative side at the terrific Safa Park hangout, The Archive. Throughout the year they host a number of multi-week courses that will teach you the most important aspects of story writing, poetry and much more, even how to build your own book. Visit thearchive.ae for more details.

Writing can be a lonely endeavour. Why go through it alone?
With over 1,500 members, the Dubai Writers group is a great outlet for both writers and would-be writers to gain encouragement and discuss their work, or writing in general, with like-minded people.

Every month various meet-ups and events are organised, from critique groups, where people discuss, give feedback on and critique a pre-arranged list of material at roundtable meetings, to write-ins, where members meet up to write and discuss any particular issues they are having. Members of the group also occasionally run open writing workshops to share their experience with others, and often organise book swap evenings. For more information, visit meetup.com/dubaiwriters

 

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But how do I get published?
The journey from closet writer to published author is fraught with uncertainty and rejection. Award-winning author of One & A Half Wife, Meghna Pant, gives us her top tips on how to get your work published.

Write: It sounds obvious, but if you can’t be as lonely as Miss Havisham and as determined as Gollum, then a finished manuscript will never happen.

Edit: When your story is ready, step away for a month or six and come back with a chainsaw. Do away with every excess, every adverb, and strip the text down to its bare essentials. If you think this sounds painful, it is.

Organise: This is crucially important. Turn off your TV and make sure you’ve written your synopsis, cover letter and biography. Approach publishers, be patient and don’t take no for an answer.

Be Tough: Art is stronger than the censor, but the artist is not. To have your life’s work in the public domain is to invite criticism, praise, opinion and, hopefully, debate. Just smile and wave.

Live: Talent is a good thing to possess if you want to be a writer, but equally important is to live your life – experiment, experience, fail, fall, remember every little pain and every little joy, love, love again and always keep a diary.