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Brooke Davis' top tips for debut authors


Debut author Brooke Davis wrote this story of loss and discovery as a way to help get through the grief of her own mother's death. Here, Brooke shares what she learned while writing Lost & Found.

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1. Read

2. Write

3. Work hard

Ira Glass said, "It is only by going through a volume of work that your work will be as good as your ambitions. It's gonna take awhile. It's normal to take awhile. You just gotta fight your way through." I plan to be working on closing that gap for the rest of my writing life.

4. Listen to Hemingway

"The first draft of anything is shit." It's so important to allow myself time and space to fail at writing in those early stages. I might write two thousand words in a day and only come up with one sentence or one idea that is usable, or good enough, but every single one of those two thousand words was important for me to write. I need to have stages where I write with the freedom of someone who doesn't care about perfect sentences.

5. However...

When rewriting, I have to do the opposite of not care about perfect sentences. It's important at this stage for me to take the time to look carefully at every single word, and make a case for their presence in the narrative, to understand when the right time is to swoop back in and make all my words work for me.

6. Cultivate writing friendships

I'm lucky to have many valuable people around me who a) understand, b) I can share ideas with, c) tell me the truth.

7. Stuck? Change something

Scenery, writing medium, the music you're listening to. I might read a writer who inspires me, ring one of my writer friends and ask them to solve my problem for me or give me a pep talk, or just to talk about anything but my writing. I might exercise, have a nap, or freewrite. Sometimes I just accept that I'm not having a good day and stop. And hope that tomorrow is better!

8. Keep it balanced

I love to write and it's important to me, but I also love my life outside of that. I love being social, I love thinking about things that don't relate to writing, I love being kind to myself with good food and exercise. Time away from writing is really important to my life as a writer.

9. Read and read and read.

10. Write and write and write


More about Brooke Davis

Brooke Davis grew up in Bellbrae, Australia, and now lives in Perth, where she works as a bookseller. She is a graduate of the University of Canberra and Curtin University. Lost & Found is her first novel and has been published in over twenty-five countries. It was a number one bestseller in Australia and won Fiction Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards 2015. 

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Last updated: over 3 years ago