To celebrate Kill Your Darlings’ new website, we’ve asked some of our favourite contributors from past years to reflect on their early writing experiences and share their top tips for emerging writers.
When I got a job as a weekly TV columnist at The Age, I moved back to Melbourne and into a sharehouse with fellow writers Ruby and Ronnie, as well as Pete, a whipsmart lawyer. I loved that job – it gave me my first regular income as a writer and the confidence to put my writing out somewhere other than the internet. But what stays with me are the ways in which my clever, kind housemates helped shape my columns each week.
Sometimes it was just by chatting over dinner about the TV show I was reviewing, which helped me clarify my opinions. Other times, one or all of them would read a draft and point out what did and didn’t work, and what was missing. Because of their insights, I’d realise I needed to cut the first three paragraphs, or that my joke about the Kardashians fell flat.
Since that time I always ask friends to read my work before sending it on to an editor. My writing buddy for the past five years has been Sofija. She now lives in New York, but that doesn’t stop us from emailing each other our work every week. Having a supportive buddy who forces me to send my work to her, no matter how bad it is, pushes me to get the writing done even when I don’t feel like doing it.