“Being a writer is a long game”

Tutors of the "The Literary and Art Weekend with Panel"– brilliant young professionals in their field.  Meet Sabrina Small – a writer of creative nonfiction, memoir, auto fiction, personal essay and poetry from Berlin.  Her work has been published in Hobart, Expat Literary Journal, The Hunger Journal, and Gastronomica. Sabrina is the online food editor of ExBerliner MagazineDuring the "Literary and Art Weekend" Sabrina Small will co-host a workshop on memoir writing.

Q: What do you personally consider your main professional achievement?

A: I don’t think of my writing on the basis of one main professional achievement. For me, being a writer is a long game that you play with yourself. I enjoy being published and have had opportunities as a food journalist, memoirist and autofiction writer, but I keep writing because I have something to say and no one else who will say it like me.

Q: Is there anything in your career that you would have done differently if you could?

A: There’s a big industry for handing your stories or manuscript over to a more esteemed writer and paying them to critique your work, even when you don’t know them and they are only reading you for the first time. I went for this a few times early in my career and was always disappointed by the lack of connection I had with these professional readers. I think classes are important but finding a group of good readers and editors is not something that can be rushed. If I could go back, I would have held onto my writing and shown it to people that seemed curious and bright, rather than esteemed and respectable.

Q: What, in your opinion, is the main (professional or other) challenge for a writer\artist?

A: It’s a solitary sport and there’s usually no one cheering you on. Writing, therefore, has to come from your own desire to express and your own curiosity about your thoughts and feelings. This is why, I think, people give up on themselves, because they were looking for validation from an audience rather than clarity.

Q: Why, do you think, writers and artists benefit from being in each other's company (like they will be during our workshop)?

A: It’s easy to doubt yourself as a writer if you aren’t around other writers from time to time. I think belonging to a tribe of writers is so powerful because it strengthens your sense of identity and inclusion, brings community and friendship, and exposes you to ideas that keep you growing. It’s honestly as valuable as reading, in my opinion.

Q: If you could live the best day of your life, what would this best day be like?

A: A day where you wake up with very few preconceptions about what will happen to you and a willingness to go on whatever journey that day provides. It’s hard to be really present, brave, and spontaneous. I think my best days have always been full of curiosity rather than any plan. It’s the planning that creates expectations and expectations lead to disappointment. I’d also add a great bottle of Croatian wine and some high quality sheep’s cheese, just for good measure. Or just go to Northern Spain and soak in a hot spring. That’s always a great choice. No one has ever regretted a good soak.

More about “Facing ourselves” workshop and application form here

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