Recently, I was delighted to be a guest lecturer at the University of Queensland for the Genre Fiction Creative Writing course. I’ve run many creative writing workshops over the years but I haven’t been in a lecture theatre since I completed my law degree many years ago. Gosh I was nervous!
However, it turned out to be a lot of fun, particularly at the end when I could stop yabbering and the students made comments and asked questions.
Anyway, for the purpose of the lecture, I dug out one of my favourite quotes about writing. It has stayed with me for many years, so I thought I’d share it on this blog.
It’s from Don Whittington, who used to write a column called THE INK-STAINED WRETCH. When he talked about that indefinable sparkle that makes people want to read your work, and editors want to buy, he called it the X factor.
It was our talent that led us writers to try writing. We are not normal. Why? Because we are talented in a way that others are not. Do you think that carpenters hammer secretly at night building houses in their backyard? Houses they are afraid to show anybody because someone might think they are not talented? No. They don’t need our validation to be carpenters. They just do it. My point is that to uncover the X-Factor you must indulge your own unique talent. Be as modest as you like at the cocktail party, but when you pick up that keyboard remind yourself that there has never been another writer like you in the entire history of creation. Set yourself free.