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.
Our final Ask Your Darlings comes from Rebecca Shaw. Rebecca Shaw is a Contributing Editor at Kill Your Darlings, and her writing can be found in KYD online (‘Space Invaders: Why white cis gay men should check their privilege’, ‘The ‘Strong Female Character’ Illusion and Why We Deserve Better’, and more).
My first published writing opportunity came a few years ago when I was approached by Jane Gilmore, the then-editor of The King’s Tribune, who had seen me ranting in an amusing way about a topic on Twitter (probably something to do with lesbians). Before the advent of Twitter I had written bits and pieces here and there, and had blogged a bit, but it was really the decision to share my opinions about things in a public way that became the catalyst for my writing career. I am still relatively new to writing, but I have learned a few things that have helped me thus far.
Firstly, putting your thoughts out into the world is one thing, but finding a way to share your thoughts in an entertaining way is the key.
Secondly, if you find editors to work with who enjoy your writing but also understand how to improve it, hold on to them and never let them go. Try your best to be a person they can rely on to produce work well, and on deadline.
Finally, be open and generous with other writers, even if you might technically be in competition with them – in the long run, a solid support network is more important than any job.