Fannying about on the Guardian Website yesterday, as you do, I came across this rather lovely article bringing together writing advice from all sorts of fabulous writers.
Having started reading it I realised of course that I had seen it linked in Neil Gaiman’s blog, and via writerly people on Twitter, but I had skipped over it somewhat, as I am normally a little reluctant to look over such advice. This is because it can either fire me up to get on with some writing now now now (and if I’m reading an article on a website, I’m normally in the wrong place for that) or it just irritates me and I spend ages stewing over it in a pointless nark.
But, to be fair, there are some gems in here, particularly from Roddy Doyle:
“Do not place a photograph of your favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide”
“Do not search amazon.co.uk for the book you haven’t written yet.”
“Do give the work a name as quickly as possible. Own it, and see it. Dickens knew Bleak House was going to be called Bleak House before he started writing it. The rest must have been easy.”
2) Read After all, the writing only actually gets done if you sit down and do it, and it’s also the only way you learn and get better. And if you’re not a reader, why on earth would you want to be a writer? (Believe it or not I did know someone who was attempting to write a book despite only having the vaguest interest in reading themselves- the mind boggles!). There’s other stuff that I’ve learnt along the way, but the more in depth you get the more tailored it is to me alone- write every day, keep a notebook with you, don’t have the internet on when you’re trying to get something done, don’t let the cat get comfy in front of the screen, have motivational post-its and a My Little Pony in your writing space, use chocolate as a reward… You see what I mean. In the end, Rule 1 and Rule 2 are the ones we have to stick to, and if we do, we’ll get there in the end.