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Ready, steady, write

A friend who's started to write asked me for secret insider knowledge for newbies. Like most first drafts, I made a hash of it, so here is an edited version.

The main point is: there is no right way to write, we all find our own by trial and error. Advice on writing should be treated with the same polite irreverence as advice about your love life. Except this:

Write. Get started, see what happens. It’s unlikely that your first pages will be your masterpiece, so you might as well have fun. Be playful, experiment, learn.

Read. Read whatever makes you feel alive and engaged. Notice how you’re responding and figure out why. (If you enjoy that, you could review books too.)

Keep a journal. Collect whatever resonates, fascinates, unsettles you - discover the stuff of life which will be your material. (You might learn from my journal-keeping mistakes.)

Make writing buddies. Find other new writers, make a safe place to share your work and learn together.

Keep at it. Every time you sit down at your desk, you’re a step closer to writing as second nature. Every time you write or rewrite or begin again, you’re improving as a writer.

There will be days when the words won’t play, but there will also be days of creative bliss - and you wouldn’t want to miss those.

Be warned - you might fall in love with writing, as many do, and then you'll never be bored again.

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