5 things that kept me writing

01 June 2018

1. Signing up for novel writing classes. I knew there was a process to writing a book. If I thought it would miraculously reveal itself to me as I went along, I was wrong.I needed a basic framework because that's the sort of person I am. The classes introduced me to tried and tested techniques, helped me discover my writer’s voice and provided early, all-important feedback. 

2. Reading my work aloud. The first time I did this was in one of my writing classes in front of my tutor and other classmates. I won’t lie – it was an excruciating experience! But it really helped to hear my prose spoken even if it was in my own quavering voice. I could immediately tell if it flowed or was jarring to the ear. 

3. Joining a writing group. This really worked for me as I had complete trust in the other group members. I knew that any comments and suggestions would be given honestly and constructively. Being part of a writing group, long after my writing classes ended, kept me motivated. 

4. The Cambridge Literature Festival. I know this is very specific, given the number of festivals to choose from, but it’s local to me. I like to hear established authors speak about their writing experiences. And I’m especially interested in how they got started. Roddy Doyle is one author who sticks in my mind because of his searing honesty. He said that when it came to writing his first book, he had no shortage of ideas. In fact the words just tumbled out. The problem was that it was all sh*te. Bizarrely I found this quite encouraging.

5. Facing the fear! I was scared to stop writing for more than a day in case I forgot how to do it. There’s no logic to this but nevertheless this was how I felt. So during the periods when I was ‘resting’ (otherwise known as writers block) I tried to get at least something down on paper. It could be an outline for a chapter, a short blog, an entry in my diary, even a to do list. Anything to quell the panic. 

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