The third and final talk I attended for E & E week, ‘A Career As A Writer’ was given by poet Geoff Hattersley, current writer in residence at Leeds Trinity University.
Geoff has worked a huge variety of jobs over the course of his career. From working in a food warehouse at 20 years old, to starting his own press publishing magazines and pamphlets, Geoff has led a fascinating life building up a great deal of knowledge on the what it’s like to work in the writing industry. His first poems were published in 1984.
Geoff’s tips for any aspiring writers and poets out there are:
-Think of Literature as a vocation, i.e. something you feel compelled to do – a calling
-Draw on all of your experiences (good and bad) and use them in your writing
-Writing doesn’t pay well so most likely you will need to find a second job
-Write for yourself and write because you enjoy it – one of the most important things is that you must enjoy what you do
-Write constantly. Good or bad writing, it’s all going to help you to improve and develop your writing style
-Don’t restrict yourself to just one form of writing. As a professional writer you must be able to diversify – you can write poems, novels, reviews, articles – Try them out, you might discover you love them
Many thanks to Geoff for his refreshingly honest and useful talk about having a career as a writer. It’s certainly not an easy career path to follow but if it’s your passion and something you love the benefits you reap from it make it worth the tough times you have to go through to get your work out there!