travel with me from SAHM to working mum….
As an aspiring writer I listen to a lot of advise on how to write. I thought I would use this Monday (OK, I’m a day late) to pass some of it on.
This is probably obvious, but I have written it inside one of my many notebooks. If you do not sit down and write than you will never finish that novel, article or even blog post. Talking about writing is not writing. I have yet to decide whether blogging about writing is real writing either, but at least it’s a step in the write direction… (sic)
Write about what’s under your nose
I have been told this by a number of people, including a creative writing teacher and Jarvis Cocker. Jarvis wasn’t talking only to me, he was on the radio, but it still felt like advice directed at me. I wonder about this. Some of my favourite books have been written by people who could not possible have been writing about what was under their noses: ‘Wolf Hall‘ by Hilary Mantel, ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin‘ – Louis de Bernieres, but they do seem well-researched, and where research is lacking that’s where imagination steps in. Some of my other favourite books were the opposite: ‘Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha‘ by Roddy Doyle is one that springs to mind and must have been inspired and informed by his work as a primary school teacher.
My better short stories have been written about subjects or situations which have been familiar but I struggle with getting too close. I am worried that my novel is too close to a memoir and this is probably why I have stalled.
Thousand words a day
One day this will be possible. I think this is Stephen King’s advice from his book ‘On Writing’, although I still have not read it myself so this is hearsay. Simon Mayo, the radio presenter who I listened to for years and years until his defection to Radio 2 (sorry Simon, just can’t bring myself to twist the dial down that low), has written a novel for teenage boys (haven’t read this one yet either but think the 11yo will love it) and recommends King’s 1000 word rule. I think this is a really good idea, but I bet neither of them have to do the washing, cooking and dog-walking.
So, three rules. Not many to adhere to, mind you, posting every week day is proving a challenge.