Friday, 26 February 2010

how to be a writer

Part 1

GETTING STARTED: what you will need.

Somewhere quiet, comfortable and clean. So, obviously not your place. If you have a friend with a nice house who is away, preferably in prison for something terrible, that's ideal. Break into their home and make it your own. They'll understand, they're a criminal. Actually, having friends is a sign that you may not be a serious writer. Don't worry, you'll soon lose them. Remember the writer's creed: "There are no strangers, only friends you haven't alienated yet."

Many writers like to work at a desk near a window. But don't look out of the window in the morning, or you'll have nothing to do in the afternoon.

E.g., pencil, paper, computer, £400 Mont Blanc fountain pen you bought with a tax rebate as an 'investment' that would 'make you a better writer'.

See: 'How to Have an Idea'. Also, 'How to Have the Same Idea Again and Make it Look Like Another Idea', and 'How to Have Someone Else's Idea.'

One famous writer had a butler whose job was to leave the house before the writer woke up, taking all his trousers with him. The writer couldn't then avoid work by  "just going out to buy some milk" for several hours. If you can't afford a butler, throw your trousers out of the window*. If you can't afford a window, hide your trousers and get drunk, so that in the morning you can't remember where they are. If you can't afford trousers, you're already a truly committed writer.

Writing is a full time job, even when you're not actually writing. Much of your most valuable work is done when it looks as if you're just having a bath, going for a walk, or taking a nap. Insensitive people don't understand this, and expect you to perform household chores, look after the children, seek paid employment, etc. (See: 'The Importance of Creative Sleep'.)

All writers deserve to have an independent income. Many writers have incomes that are so independent that they never see them.

Lots and lots of coffee.

*NB: If you haven't got the willpower to throw your own trousers out of the window, most writers find that it takes very little to provoke their spouse or partner to throw all their clothes out of the house. Remarks like, "Actually, it's been proved that creative thinking is far more exhausting work than your full time teaching job, even when I do it lying here on the couch," usually do the trick.


  1. I made the mistake of looking out the window this morning, so the only thing left for me to do is read your blog.
    Actually, I've just read your Euroscript treatment and I loved it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the kind comments, Nancy. Remember, procrastination is nature's way of telling you to do something else. Soon. Maybe tomorrow.

  3. I love your posts about "How to be a writer", I'm afraid that I'm not so committed writer because I can't find my trousers and I have a full time job to pay my bills (I'm addicted to food, I need to eat everyday so, unfortunatelly, I need a job).

    See you around,