Elaine Forrestal speaking at the NYLD in February 2011

Last night I went to speak at the annual Leeming Senior High School Literary Soiree. It was a lovely family occasion with students, parents, grandparents and staff from the High School and from most of the feeder schools in the area. Music was provided by the music students and yummy food was hand made in the Food Production class. Obviously the days of Home Economics are long gone!

Students were asked to write a story, poem, song on the topic Past, Present and Future. The best of these were chosen to be reproduced in a booklet and made available to the school communities.

Students were selected from a range of schools and year levels to read out their work to the assembled audience. Apart from a bit of stage fright and a proliferation of dinosaurs in their writing about the  past, this all went off very well. Afterwards, around the food table, several aspiring young writers came up to me and chatted about their aspirations and asked for advice. The best advice I can give to anyone who want to write is ‘Just do it.’ I firmly believe that we learn to write by writing (and reading of course) and that there is no better way to develop your own individual style than to play around with your writing. Try out different voices for your characters, different rhythms for your sentences and never be afraid to scrap something you are not happy with.

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