4 Writing Lessons I Learned From Lang Leav
Written by Surabhi Pandey
I had my share of literary she-roes who inspired me while I was growing up. My firsts were J.K Rowling and Enid Blyton, then Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. However, poetry has been a life-long love; it inspires me to the core and helps me find solace. Poets like Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Sarojini Naidu have remained constant inspirations in my life. Currently, my poetic idol is Lang Leav. Her poetry makes me feel free; it inspires me to appreciate the little miracles of life.
I had the opportunity to meet Lang Leav during a reading at Kinokuniya Bookstore in Singapore last December. She shared four writing tips with me that changed my approach to writing, and I want to share them with you:
1. Forget everything else, and focus on writing.
A lot of aspiring writers worry too much about gaining notice or publishing a book. For those writers Lang Leav has a simple but important piece of advice—forget fame and fortune, and focus on how you write, how often you write, and the quality of your work. “We, as writers, keep learning and improving throughout. There should never be a point when we cease to learn because if that junction arrives, we cease to grow.” When a writer focuses on learning and practicing their craft, it is only a matter of time before they are noticed.
2. Share your work, and welcome feedback.
When I asked her about how to know when I’m on the right track when I’m writing, she said that the best judges of a writer’s work are her readers. She encouraged me to share my work on social media and use feedback from my followers to improve my work.
3. There is nothing wrong with self-publishing.
I asked about her opinion on self-publishing, and she said that there is nothing wrong in giving your work a kick start. “If you have enough faith in your work, go for it.” In fact, Lang supported herself through self-publishing for a few months before she was picked up by her publisher.
4. Don’t give up.
When I asked Lang about the publishing process, she smiled and said, “It is not an easy road, but if you are consistent, you will get there.” She said that no matter what, one should never give up on their dreams. “Keep writing and keep pitching your work. The day will come.” Use social media to develop and recognize a fan base.
Every time I look at my signed copy of Love & Misadventure, it reminds me to focus on my writing with dedication and consistency.
"You have said all the things I need to hear, before I knew I needed to hear them." —Lang Leav