June 28, 2017 @ 7:19 AM

Seven sensible steps to success as a writer
Step 5 (continued): Dreaming...

The cultivation of the new words in the fertile recesses of the mind continues not just during the waking day. Frequently I’ll dream them.

Sometimes they'll be very vivid dreams, with the words appearing almost as a kind of sub-title on a cinematic screen.


Other nights the words and images reaching for the surface will be far more gentle, like the first green shoots appearing through the spring soil.

But always they are growing. So that when I get up in the dawn next morning and tiptoe to the keyboard, the next words are already there.

Two or three hours … and the new day’s composition is done. Fresh words are .........


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June 17, 2017 @ 12:08 AM

Seven sensible steps to success as a writer
Step 5 (continued): The waking day...

Having stopped the early morning composition with the next words already in my mind, they spend the rest of the waking day germinating deep in the consciousness.

What do they mean? How do they build on what has gone before? How will they lay the ground for what is to come? Phrases and metaphors will shape themselves....

And whatever else I’m doing – editing yesterday’s words, attending to correspondence, business, gardening, playing the piano, preparing materials for the next part of the story, cooking dinner - the words are always growing in their own little corner of the brain...

Ready for the next day's writing.


Next: ...............

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June 14, 2017 @ 11:11 AM

Seven sensible steps to success as a writer
Step 5 (Cont) Stop when you know how to go on



The target of writing two hundred words – good words, I hope – is only one part of my daily professional discipline when composing.

The other part is this: I always stop – invariably – when I know what the next words will be. I never write until the words hit a blank wall and I don’t know how to go on.

Anything, to avoid the 'black hole' of writers' block.'

I’ll write to the end of a paragraph, or a section, or a particular train of thought.

But (providing I’ve met my target) with the next words already in my mind I’ll stop writing.

I might jot a.........


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June 2, 2017 @ 4:59 PM

Seven sensible steps to success as a writer
Step 5 (continued): Two hundred words a day

There are endless variations on the ways we writers go about composing our books.

Some prepare elaborate schemas of the novel before beginning. Others rely on intuition and the plot emerging from the writing. As an historical writer, my stories are pretty much pre-determined: the literary question is how best to tell them.

Some authors procrastinate for as long as possible before getting down to work. Others can't wait to back to the page. Some maintain the discipline by spending so many hours of each day at the desk. Others set a target of producing so many words every day.

The number of hours and the quantity of words depend, of .........


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