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Writing Tips: “Focus on the things you can control.”

Advice from Catherine Chung, a fiction editor at Guernica and author of Forgotten Country.

By Catherine Chung

In anticipation of our first annual publishing conference, we’ve rounded up advice from your favorite authors to help demystify the daunting task of honing and proving your skills as a published author. Read on to glean valuable insider advice about what to read, what to ignore, and how to keep the faith, from the author of Forgotten Country, Catherine Chung.

1. Try to focus on the things you can control in your work, and to let go of things you can’t—like the reactions of other people to your work.

2. Read what other writers have said about writing: it will help you feel less alone.

3. Don’t let discouraging rumors stop you from going after agents, conferences, and publications you want: it is totally possible to get a good agent or publication or spot in a conference or residency from the slush.

4. Self loathing can be productive, but when it’s not, let it go. It is its own form of arrogance.

5. Be brave. Be bold. Have faith.