If you want to write. Don’t put it off until you have your own desk or the latest apple – the sort where you take one bite and stop! Or a lock on your door. Or a case of the finest red to hand, or a bar of 85% cacao organic chocolate. And whatever you do don’t wait until your children have left home. Or your husband or wife, partner or dog, or cat.


Do not be precious about it. One of the wonderful things about writing is you need so little equipment. Most of it is packed away inside you. In fact it is a continuous dialogue between what is inside and what is outside. But be aware of this. The words that arrive in your head will soon disappear as if they have never existed in that particular order before – and will not come again. This is one certainty you can hold onto.

So pick up a pen, borrow a biro from the waitress and a napkin too if you have no handy Moleskine notebook. Famously Jack Kerouac is said to have written On the Road on toilet rolls, but I think that is an example of the mythology that grows after you have died and is of no concern to the writer. Besides, you must make a copy….and as far as I know toilet rolls have never come with carbon between the sheets…and Kerouac predates digital.

If you want to write, just do it. And…don’t ask for how long…for as long as it takes…until you run out of steam or the house burns down or your youngest begs for a crust of bread. Notice I am leaving husbands and wives and partners out of this. Deal with him or her as you feel fit…just know those who say they love you can be your staunchest allies…off you go darl… I’ll clean the floor and the windows and let me know when you’re ready for a cuppa!

And they can be your nemesis.

What I do know is once you announce your intention to write…things in the household get shuffled around into new patterns…

Incidentally, don’t ask the most numbing question of all – what is this about? Write and you will discover… You are setting out on a journey, each word a step along the way and while you are wording many wondrous things will happen…but nothing more wondrous than what you will discover about yourself.

And…don’t try to write well, not in the first draft, because you will squash your voice. More about that elusive creature, the writer’s voice, later.


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