Lucy Sutcliffe: "Even if it’s terrible, just write"
The author, film-maker and YouTuber gives her advice to aspiring novelists
We heart Girl Hearts Girl. Lucy Sutcliffe's must-read memoir is uplifting and relatable. It's all about growing up gay in rural Oxfordshire and falling head over heels for the very first time. As huge fans of her work, both as an author and a YouTuber, we were delighted when Lucy told us she'd be flying all the way from Arizona for the DIVA Literary Festival. We were so excited in fact, that we couldn't resist the excuse to have a natter. Read on to find out about Lucy's writing routine, her top tips for budding authors and what it was like mining her real life in the name of literature.
DIVA: You've managed to write a book by the age of 24! That's both impressive and inspiring. What’s your top tip for first time authors?
LUCY SUTCLIFFE: Just write – write, write, write. Even if it’s terrible. In fact, it’s better if it’s terrible. I’ve written some truly awful things in my time. But the more you write, the better you’ll get. Don’t be self-conscious – no-one has to see it until you’re ready.
That's some solid advice. Talk us through your writing routine.
I’ll be honest – I’m a procrastinator and I find it hard to stay motivated. I limit all distractions by getting my to-do list completely done first, or I can’t concentrate. Then I’ll make some kind of snack or drink, sit down at my desk, waste about 20 minutes on Facebook, and THEN I’ll start. Once I start, though, I can’t stop. That’s the best feeling in the world.
We love Girl Hearts Girl. For readers who haven't devoured it just yet, tell us a bit about it.
Girl Hearts Girl is a memoir about my life growing up as a gay teenager in a very, very small town in Oxfordshire. The book documents my long and often painful journey to self-acceptance, coming out, getting into my first serious relationship, and moving to America.
Do you have plans for a sequel?
That’s a secret. ;)
Here's hoping! Why did you decide to write a memoir rather than fiction?
There’s something about real-life experiences that I think people find much easier to connect with. And I think, with a topic like this, it resonates a lot more because of how personal it is. I am inspired, so often, by people’s life stories. I hope that my book can do the same for someone.
What was it like using your real life as material?
Easier than you might think. In a way, it was actually rather cathartic laying my life out into chapters on a page. It felt like healing therapy – revisiting old thoughts and ideas, getting them out onto paper, then turning the page. It felt good.
What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
That it gets better. Sometimes it’ll get worse for a while, but it’ll always get better again.
You can see Lucy take part in interviews, workshops and panels at the DIVA Literary Festival and Awards, which take place 3-5 November at the Hilton Metropole, Birmingham NEC. Book now at divaliteraryfestival.com.
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