If You Want to be a Writer

Briana Beebe, Reporter

If You Want to Be a Writer


When I was six, I discovered my innate passion for writing. Twelve years later and not much has changed. So naturally; when I heard about a writing workshop held by Englewood Public Library, I had to go. This “Writer’s Retreat,” as they called it, was a Saturday full of published authors giving their advice to a room full of aspiring authors. 

Erin K. Barnes was the first speaker, and she focused on asking the audience questions about themselves in order to prompt further reflection upon what kind of writer they wished to be. If you’re interested in writing, I encourage you to ask yourself some of the questions below. 


  1. What is different about your writing?
  2. Who do you emulate? Who do you want to write like?
  3. Do you feel more comfortable writing about yourself or the world?
  4. What would you hope people say about your work?
  5. What message do you want to share with society?


She also addressed writers block and gave several tips in order to surpass this. 


  1. Baby steps are key! Start with making yourself write for ten minutes a day because that’s better than nothing.
  2. Get away from the house. Coffee shops and bookstores are the best!
  3. Don’t let yourself edit while you write. 
  4. Practice things that make you uncomfortable! Ex: sharing your writing with others. 
  5. Always keep a guilty pleasure project going (something that you’ll probably never attempt to publish or share with others, but something that you’re truly interested in and excited about).
  6. Take a break- go for a hike, take a shower, go biking, etc. 
  7. Change the font!
  8. Try to connect with other writers so you can encourage each other.


Erin was successful in encouraging writers to trust their own unique voice, and embrace the individuality of all stories while the next speaker, Jason Heller, focused more on what writing means to the general population. He honed in on how to write memoirs/more personal stories about oneself. Right away he asked the audience, “Why do we write about our lives?” Responses varied, but many people seemed to believe that we write in order to share our stories and help the collective population feel less alone in their experiences. 

Jason also focused on how memories are merely translations of every individuals unique experience. Everyone should have the ability to express their own truth, and have full license to express that truth through creative means. Writing helps show others that it’s okay to be vulnerable and honest about difficult experiences. Words are the foundation of society, and Jason was able to comprehend this in a unique way. Everyone has a different perspective and story, so considering writing and reflecting upon your life has the potential to be very beneficial. 

Following Jason Heller was Mario Aceredo, who took a more straightforward approach to getting the audience to think upon what their writing may be about. 

Here are some questions that Mario advised you to ask yourself in order to get on the right track:

  1. What is your genre?
  2. What are your tropes?
  3. Who is your protagonist?
  4. What does your character want from the list below?
    1. Love
    2. Justice
    3. Validation
    4. Truth
    5. To prove something
    6. Fame
    7. Survival
    8. Security
    9. Revenge
    10. Redemption
  5. Your character wants something and can’t have it. Why? What’s stopping them?


The authors that I got the opportunity to learn from had great insight, and I’m hoping that some of these questions and tips could potentially help you in your own writing endeavors!