Wednesday, 13 May 2020

How to be a great writer

This website is dedicated to helping writers write, avoiding the how-to-actually-write in favour of the how-to-actually-be. Today, inspired, frustrated, maddened, whatever, by lockdown, I have branched out into how to be not just a writer, but a great one. Because, let’s face it, none of us want to mess about.

1. Ignore all fashions, facts and the Twitter zeitgeist.

2. Read everything possible – good, bad, current, classic, in every genre.

3. Become a word-nerd, read poetry aloud, peruse the dictionary, memorize brilliant sentences.

4. Have an unhappy childhood.

5. Either a. give up drinking alcohol or b. become an alcoholic. Moderation is the enemy of genius.

6. Write first thing in the morning, for at least half an hour. Don’t stop to brush your teeth.

7. Fall in love unrequitedly. Take notes.

8. Fall in love requitedly, then fall out of love, by very gradual degrees. Take copious notes.

9. Be extremely selfish and sacrifice your family and friends to Art when necessary, or if you feel like it.

10. Ignore all lists: they are for mediocrities.