Archive for November, 2013

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HOW TO BE A WRITER: EXERCISES IN MISERY


1) Stare out of the window.

2) Feel a bit hungover.

3) Wonder if you had enough love as a child.

4) Make toast.

5) Sleep badly.

6) Have trust issues.

7) Resist physical contact.

8) Fight anxiety with Merlot.

9) Eat peanut butter.

10) Speak to geese.

11) Stare at a Word document until nothing happens. Hold that moment for seventeen minutes. Then go on Twitter and annoy people.

12) Write some words.

13) Look at the words.

14) Delete the words.

15) Sigh.

16) Get drunk.

17) Punch your computer in the face.
18) Have bad hair.
19) Get stomach pains when another writer wins something.
20) Be lonely.

21) Sit in front of a Word document for 7 hrs. Write 860 words. Delete 920 words. Then drink half a bottle of gin.

22) Watch unfunny Youtube videos.

23) Google illnesses you might have.

24) Forget to call your parents.

25) Eat stale pretzels.

26) Turn up at an event where only one person shows up. Have her be a friend of your mother.

27) Feel tired.

28) And grumpy.

29) Take an hour and a half to sort the recycling.

30) Wish you were Neil Gaiman/Stephen King/Jonathan fucking Franzen.

31) Think about dying a lot.

32) Ignore deadlines.

33) Stare at rain.

34) Write another pointless blog.

35) Silently recite the author’s mantra: I’m a genius. I’m useless. I’m a genius. I’m useless. I’m a genius. I’m useless. I’m a genius. I’m useless. I want some toast.

36) Wonder why your agent hasn’t called in a while. Wonder if you actually have an agent.

37) Be a liability on white wine.

38) Be wrapped up in yourself.

39) Look at your royalty statement. Keep looking.

40) Consider every book you read to be a little bit overrated.

41) Feel the melancholy wonder of train stations.

42) Phone your mother.

43) Imagine what it would be like to win the Booker Prize. Give a little imaginary acceptance speech.

44)  Wear a dressing gown at all times.

45) Think about writing more of your book.

46) Be scared of pylons.

47) Tense up when someone hugs you.

48) Be slightly bipolar.

49) Eat peanut butter.

50) Want to be a cat.

51) Be terrible with money.

52) Hide from window cleaners.

53) Forget to eat breakfast.

54) Be generally quite worried.

55) And slightly unbalanced.

56) Create awkward vibes.

57) Stare at people without realising.

58) Have back pain.

59) Eat  some more toast.

60) Write.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MORE FUCKING WRITING TIPS

Writing tips are fucking everywhere. Every fucker from Elmore Leonard down has written the fuckers. If Shakespeare was alive now he’d be blogging about where to place a fucking apostrophe. Even I’ve written some. They drive me fucking mad, but they are easier than getting on with my next fucking novel. So here’s some fucking more.

1. Don’t ever start a novel with the fucking weather. Unless you want to start a novel with the fucking weather. In which case, fucking do it.

2. ‘Adverbs are fucking shit. Except when they’re not,’ he said, un-fucking-helpfully.

3. Don’t be fucking boring. Ever. Most books are 100 pages too fucking long.

4. Pretend your mother will never fucking read it. (Sorry Mum, I’m having a sweary day.)

5. All genres are fucking fake. Especially the genre of literary fucking fiction.

6. Don’t write to get laid. Unless you’re already James fucking Franco.

7. Be a thin-skinned fucking weirdo when you write your book. And a thick-skinned fucking bastard when it gets published.

8. If you’re hungover, don’t even fucking try.

9. Don’t fall in fucking love with yourself. (If you write ten words, delete fucking five.)

10. If you are only writing for fucking money you probably won’t make any. Don’t write for the market.  Books aren’t fucking corn flakes. Write for fucking you. Write because you fucking have to. Write because the whole world is conspiring to kill our imaginations and only books can save them. Write because in a world where governments and corporations don’t want us to fucking think, writing is a revolutionary fucking act.

(11. Just fucking write.)