Quote of the day: ‘Be ruthless about protecting writing days’


J K Rowling, author of the phenomenally bestselling Harry Potter series, advises writers to ‘guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.’ (For those of you that have never read the Harry Potter series, the Hungarian Horntail is a particularly ferocious and bloodthirsty dragon.) Granted, this will be an unusually – and no doubt surprisingly – short post from me 🙂 but I thought I’d post this quote as this is something I could really do with remembering right now, what with the sheer amount of writing work I know I have to get done.

(Picture credit: This image has been adapted from the original image by Daniel Ogren which is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence. This image is licenced under the same Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence, and first appeared on this website.)

On New Year’s Resolutions (or: what I learned about how to get what you want)

For the past few days I’ve been thinking about the whole topic of New Year’s Resolutions after reading Jeff Goins’s blog post on the topic (entitled ‘Why You Shouldn’t Bother With Resolutions This Year’ – it’s a blog aimed at writers, but the post is worth a read as it can apply to any resolution one might make), where he argues that one should focus on something far better than simply making resolutions: having resolve.

IMG_8735 (Rome, Italy. One place we’d always wanted to visit, and finally got to in 2013.)

New Year’s Resolutions have almost become a bit of a running joke: no sooner does anyone make one (whether it’s to get fit, lose weight, start a business, drink less, eat more healthily, write a book, give up smoking), you know that many people will – and probably already have – failed theirs just a few days into the new year itself. Is there any point to making any? Why do we bother? Should we bother?  Continue reading

Why ‘read a lot’ is bad advice if you want to write


“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King

One thing I didn’t explore in my previous post is probably the most common piece of advice given to aspiring writers: ‘If you want to write, you must read lots.’ I actually don’t think this is very helpful advice in its current form. Read what? Read lots of books? Read lots of plays and poems? Read lots of magazines and newspapers? Read lots of tinned food labels? Read the IKEA catalogue? And what do you do after you’ve ‘read lots’?

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‘I want to be a writer, but I can’t write – what can I do?’


I met a friend of mine for coffee (well, tea actually) yesterday. My friend told me about a friend of hers that has decided to quit their job to become a writer, and my friend was very concerned. Not because this person had quit their job to write, and not because of the oft-repeated maxim that ‘there’s no money to be made in writing’ – but because this person, to put it bluntly, was… crap.

However my friend, being the nice girl that she is, didn’t want to hurt her friend’s feelings by telling them this. She was also worried that, not being a writer herself, she might have misjudged her friend’s ‘talent’. So she showed me two lengthy blog posts her friend had drafted to see what I thought, along with the corrections she’d helpfully put through when her friend had asked for feedback.

‘I’m not wrong about this, am I?’ my friend asked me. ‘My friend can’t write. I think they should stick to something they’re good at. I love my friend, but I don’t think they have any talent and I think they’re wasting their time. You write for a living – what do you think?’

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