Aha, I have detected a flaw in this blog. It doesn't tell you how to be a writer. Two reasons for this - or maybe three. Number one: it's complicated. Number two: where to start, blog-wise, having written a whole book on the subject? And number three - I am blog-phobic. It's the style of writing I am least comfortable with. Blogs are not diaries (weird, introspective, libellous, insane), but neither do I think they should be press releases, a constant dribble of PR about "I, an Author". (Boring, tiresome, witless, inane.) So I grind to a halt, wondering who reads this stuff anyway, worrying about Wrong Notes and sounding too negative or too smug, or as if I am being overly self-conscious about either of these things, and so...

Anyway, I have put all this behind me now. Strictly professional. I have the book to hand, and I'm about to give you some excellent advice, in bite-size chunks, and really do please feel free not to buy the book, or, if you do, not to put an excellent review on Amazon.

Hilary Mantel wrote "Wolf  Hall", I heard her say recently, because it was the book that didn't exist that she wanted to read. On a slightly less high-flown level, I wrote this book because it was the book that didn't exist that I needed to read.

In 2004, I was Published for the first time, which seemed like it ought to mean something, this being the pinnacle of my ambition. But I was isolated and confused. I was waiting for someone to sprinkle fairy dust on my life (as if I was a Pippa Middleton table setting) but there was no fairy dust in sight. I wanted to be a Writer, not just someone who was published by accident. I needed help.

And so a few years later, I set out to write a book that would offer the friendly guidance I hadn't had when I started, and which had taken me years to find. Which is why the book is about "being a writer" not "doing the writing".

Not because I don't care about writing myself - I care more about this than any other part of the Writing Life - but because I know from experience that finding your neutral space is easier if you aren't in a state of sheer, blind panic or the Pits of Despair, the habitat of all too many writers.


  1. I'd love to know about daily discipline, how do people organize themselves to write? Or are we to believe that if it's not flowing out of us that we are no good??

  2. Thank you for your question! No, it tells you nothing at all about your talent. The writing will sometimes flow, and sometimes not, and all writers experience this. I will talk about this in my next post.


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