writerly advice from the sage herself Anne Enright
This was previously published somewhere else and I just thought it was very
good. I thought I would put that disclaimer in there before anyone decided
It's not like Anne and I go to have coffee and a cake and she said let me
give you some writerly tips.
1 The first 12 years are the worst.
2 The way to write a book is to actually write a book. A pen is useful,
typing is also good. Keep putting words on the page.
3 Only bad writers think that their work is really good.
4 Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about
the world. Find a place to stand.
5 Write whatever way you like. Fiction is made of words on a page; reality
is made of something else. It doesn't matter how "real" your story is, or
how "made up": what matters is its necessity.
6 Try to be accurate about stuff.
7 Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you
finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self
is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with
yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.
8 You can also do all that with whiskey.
9 Have fun.
10 Remember, if you sit at your desk for 15 or 20 years, every day, not
counting weekends, it changes you. It just does. It may not improve your
temper, but it fixes something else. It makes you more free.