Sometimes, telling myself that whatever hardship I am enduring will ultimately make a great story is the only way I get by. My writer’s mind saves my life over and over again.


With our garnered free time, we are more apt to drain our creative springs than to fill them. With our pitchers, we attempt sometimes to water a field, not a garden. We throw ourselves indiscriminately into committees and causes. Not knowing how to feed the spirit, we try to muffle its demands with distractions. Instead of stilling the center, the axis of the wheel, we add more centrifugal activities to our lives – which tend to throw us off balance. – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This is just one quote from a beautiful little book on simplicity and creativity called Gift from the Sea. I picked it up in a bookshop in Denver, and have been feeding off it ever since.


I sat down and wrote a few paragraphs. They presented me with a very controversial message, one I was not sure I agreed with. But upon rereading, I found I made a convincing case . . . This kind of duplicity of persuasion is confusing.


‘Write what you know’

This is probably the worst writing advice I have ever heard. I write about what I do not understand. If I am confused by something, or would like to know more about something, I will instantly concoct a story line that will enable me to explore it more deeply. It’s just the way I think.


I have discovered that if I write one short story per month, I will have twelve short stories in a year. I have decided to embark upon this literary quest in an attempt to actually finish my shit. Wish me luck.


This is something I cannot stress enough: 

Difficulty does not equal quality.

Just because something is difficult to write (or read) does not automatically make it of better quality. Likewise, if something came easily, that does not mean you have settled. While intricacy generally takes more time and energy, remember to make allowance for the possibility that you’re a genius. 


Do you ever look at someone you know – a friend, relative, significant other – and get suddenly horribly jealous that you did not come up with their character first? That you cannot claim the right of creation for this nuanced, multifaceted, beautiful individual?


Writing in first person present tense seems to be a current fad for authors (especially of YA fiction). I find this extremely hard to read and write. It usually ends up sounding like a diary entry or a detailed, self-indulgent fantasy.