Keynote lunch address by Lisa See

By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner

Lisa See, a New York Times Bestselling author of books such as Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Dreams of Joy, gave a keynote address to the attendees at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. She gave an inspiring speech with 16 points. I will quickly summarize them.

  1. Write what you know.
  2. Start where you are.
  3. Write 1000 words a day.
  4. Do research. Go where you write, eat what your characters would eat, try to experience as much of your character’s lives as possible.
  5. Write a charming note every day. Write to people you don’t know, say something positive. Just try to make a connection with someone who could help you down the line.
  6. Editing- don’t fear being edited, don’t resist editing. We all need editing.
  7. Read. Read books by people who inspire you. Read bestsellers. See what’s out there.
  8. Support your local bookstore.
  9. Don’t be anyone other than who you are
  10. Voice and authenticity. Stay true to your own voice, your own authenticity. Don’t listen to naysayers. She said that when she wanted to write Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, she was told that no one would want to read such a novel. She decided she would be happy if it sold 5,000 copies. Instead, it went on to be a NY Times bestseller.
  11.  Be passionate. You are in it for the stories you are compelled to tell. Be passionate about them for the long term.
  12. Enjoy the moment. Remember what matters.
  13. This isn’t always easy and it isn’t always fun.
  14. Cut to the bone. Is the only way to go deep and to get to the truth of the story and the human experience.
  15.  You have a unique voice, only you can tell it.

She said it was 16 things, but I only have 15 things coherently written down. The last thing she said was “Art is the heartbeat of the artist.” A fantastic quote.

Have any of you read books by Lisa See? What did you like about them?

  • Laura

    I have, and I love her books. Great storylines, interesting historical fiction pieces. Lots of women’s issues. Overall wonderful stuff.

    • I agree. I often find myself saying “Wow” as I read her and the emotions she evokes.

  • I aree, too. It’s no fun being anything but original.

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