Whether you’ve just started writing or you’ve been working diligently for decades, cultivating a mindset and attitude for success makes a world of difference. Gabriela Pereira‘s session for HippoCamp 2017 is entitled The Writing Life: How to Survive and Succeed Without Breaking Your Heart or Losing Your Mind. As the “founder and instigator” of DIYMFA.com, Pereira has helped many writers find their focus. At HippoCamp, she aims to debunk some of the most common myths about writing. She will also demonstrate how to conquer your goals and improve your writing process.

Gabriela Pereira

Gabriela shared her excitement for HippoCamp 2017 with us:

Hippocampus: Without sharing any spoilers, what can attendees expect from your session?

Gabriela: I believe that writing resides both in the mind and the heart, and if we want to be productive and resilient in our work, we need to nurture both. In this talk, I share my two signature techniques for honing the mind and heart aspects of your writing process.

On the mind side of things I use a scientific approach, showing writers how to test different aspects of their process so they can create a writing life that complements their unique personalities and helps them reach their individual goals. For the heart side, I share my Mindfulness Manifesto, five mantras or touchstones that can help writers find that elusive writing-life balance.

Who would benefit the most from your session or workshop?

WARNING: this session does not offer easy answers and simple solutions. If writers are looking for a magic formula, they won’t find it here. What they will get is a framework so they can come up with their own answers and learn how evolve these solutions over time.

That’s the funny thing about writing: no two people will have the same process and no piece of advice will apply to all writers in the same way. Regardless of skill level, this session is for writers who are up for a challenge, who want to push themselves beyond what feels comfortable and safe so their writing can reach new heights.

Eric Hoffer said: “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” As the publishing industry continues to change, I believe success belongs not to those who can become better writers, but those who become better learners. This session will show you how to do that.

Literary citizenship is so important today, and by being part of our conference, you’re contributing to the CNF community — why is sharing with others important to you?

As writers, we take abstract ink squiggles on a page and turn them into words. Those words become sentences and paragraphs, which we string together to make entire stories. Those stories turn into ideas and feelings that we can share with another person. I believe that this is pure alchemy. It’s an act of magic. And as wielders of this incredible power, writers have a responsibility to use it for good.

We are living in dark times right now. No matter what you believe or where you fall on the political spectrum, there’s a lot of uncertainty and anxiety in the world. Many people—often the least powerful among us—are finding their words being stifled or dismissed. So it’s up to us as writers to make sure these voices can still be heard.

Sharing our stories, speaking our words, it’s like lighting a candle in the dead of night. Alone, one candle can almost get lost in the dark, but if we all stand together we can light up the world.

Taking off your presenter hat, what are you hoping to learn as an attendee at HippoCamp?

I am so excited to boost my creative nonfiction chops. For the past several years, I’ve been writing a lot of prescriptive nonfiction, but over the last few months, I’ve found some essays bubbling in the back of my brain. I’ll be treating HippoCamp as a creative nonfiction boot-camp of sorts, to see if I can jumpstart something new and totally different!

What was a recent and memorable work of creative nonfiction you read – whether a book or shorter piece? (And what did you love about it?)

It’s been a while since I read this book but I absolutely LOVE Meredith Maran’s Why We Write About Ourselves. It’s very meta in that it’s a collection of essays from memoirists talking about writing memoir. I interviewed Meredith about this book on my podcast, DIY MFA Radio (Episode 81: Why We Write About Ourselves).

What I like most about the book is seeing how differently these authors approach creative nonfiction. Some take liberties with the facts in order to capture a broader truth-with-a-capital-T, while others have a much more journalistic approach, sticking as close to realism as possible. It’s almost like a creative nonfiction master class in book form, and getting to speak with Meredith about it on the show was absolutely fascinating.

Anything else?

I can’t wait to meet everyone at HippoCamp in a few short weeks! If you want to know a little more about me before the conference (plus get some awesome freebies!) I encourage you to visit DIYMFA.com/join and sign up for our Starter Kit. You’ll get a free mini-course delivered straight to your inbox, plus an invitation to join our private subscriber-only Facebook group. Keep writing and keep being awesome!


Get inspired with Gabriela this September at HippoCamp 2017! Book your spot at this year’s conference today.

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