As an older member of the fashion press, I quite often get asked for advice about writing, and a couple of the same questions always come up so I thought I’d talk about them a little bit.
For me it is something personal to pass on advice and help younger or newer writers, new writers are not always young, as I mentioned in my recent piece about my personal journey I didn’t start until I was 31.
Rejection is fine
Rejection is part of this industry, we all want to progress rapidly but it can take time. Get used to a no, the greatest piece of advice I think I give is don’t take rejection to heart, but do try to learn from it.
The market is more saturated than ever, self-publishing has meant there are thousands of writers out there, and you can’t always win. What is important is listening to feedback, and most importantly keep knocking on those doors until someone says yes. Build on the opportunities you get, seize each moment you can. Keep writing, keep honing your craft, Usain Bolt didn’t rock up at the Olympics and just win, he practised every day, he put a lifetime into reaching his best.
Not all feedback is equal
Feedback is something that must be assessed, friends will be overly kind, your nemesis will be overly harsh. There is no more important person in your writing career than the person that will give you honest, well informed, experienced feedback. Question the credentials of those giving feedback, it’s easy in a moment of upset to say they don’t know what they are talking about but it is important in taking anything onboard to know and believe they do.
Research, research, research
Know your labels, if you want to write about someone, interview someone, review someone, put the hours in before. My fashion week doesn’t start at the opening party, it starts weeks in advance, I always want to look at a label from a position of understanding if I can, to see where they are going through the lens of where they have come from, I want to set interview questions in the context of a whole life, not a moment in time. That comes from research, and it’ll help you every time.
Learn fashion history
Coming back to that point, understand what you’re seeing in the context of what has gone before, the ideas, the techniques, the references, you should always travel with a suitcase full of history as a fashion writer.
It isn’t about what a PR wants, it’s about what you want to tell your reader
Fashion PR’s are some of my best friends, but I learned right from the start to ignore them and do what I want to do, write what I want to write, say what I want to say. My readers click the link because of my opinions, thoughts and views. Writing isn’t difficult but we sometimes overcomplicate it, the mantra is “what do I want to tell you today”.
It is “a reader”
Terry Wogan was asked by The Queen what it was like to have millions of listeners, he said he only had one. That is how he saw his work, as a conversation between him and a single person, each listener should feel like they are the only other person there.
Intimacy between you and your reader is the most important thing, when the look at that page it should feel like they are there with you, a conversation, not an article. I love writers that frame their work in such a way I find myself without notice speaking back to it.
These are just ideas and my personal thoughts, but I hope they help.