To me, it is fundamental to think about WHY you want to write. I often have people contact me saying “I want to be a writer, how do I go about being a writer?“. To me, this is skewed. You should want to ‘be a writer’ because you want to write…you need to write! Not because you are attracted to some fanciful notion of lifestyle! I love my job and I feel blessed to have such stimulating and latterly successful career, but it can be extremely lonely too. Writing a novel demands a great amount of discipline. It requires you to claw back self-belief during periods of stifling self-doubt. It can also be pretty exhausting. For me, it also takes a fair amount of physical energy as well as mental alertness of course. Most importantly, you have to have emotional dedication – who wants to read words which weren’t truly felt whilst they were written?
Writing can be very draining indeed. It’s not the type of job you can do on auto-pilot if you’re knackered/ have a hangover/ are preoccupied with crap in your personal life. Sometimes, you have to sit at the keyboard and really fight tiredness, sometimes it’s a case of putting your fingers on the home keys and squeezing out one letter, then another, then another until you have a word, until you have a sentence, a paragraph, a page, a chapter. This often requires you to conquer the demons who say, bugger this, I’m not inspired today, I’ll write double tomorrow, I’m off to the shops/ down the pub/ to the sofa for a quick snooze and a bit of daytime TV. Do not find any reason whatsoever to organize your sock drawer or clean the inside of your dishwasher. That’s not housekeeping – that’s simply procrastination. Oh – and I’d advise against keeping any comfort food in your fridge or cupboards. I know I am easily distracted at home – which is why for many years I found the perfect writing environment in my local library! These days, I write from a converted stable in my back garden.