A Few Writing Tips

  1. Create time and peaceful space for writing, even if it’s just an hour here and there.
  2. Ban email and the internet from your writing time.
  3. Don’t force your brain. One of the most pleasurable things about writing is the way the brain makes its own connections. I’m not a big fan of the concept of ‘inspiration’ as some kind of external force, but in my experience the brain is busy subconsciously on the problems you set it. If you’re stuck, do something different, preferably something quiet that doesn’t engage your brain in a verbal way. Go for a walk or do the washing up without switching the radio on.
  4. Everyone writes in a different way, but I love not knowing exactly what comes next. When I try to plan ahead in a detailed way, I get bored. But I do always have a clear idea of where I am in the story. It is very easy – and dangerous – in the middle of tens of thousands of words, to lose the core of the story, or to lose the sense of pace.
  5. Journalistic training – I try to keep my sentences under forty words long.
  6. More journalism – edit ruthlessly. This is the work that uses a different bit of your brain, not the part of your brain that works quietly on its own, but the very conscious, thinking part of your brain.