WORD SEARCH with Adair Jones

Rules for Writers: Colm Tóibín

Posted in Wanderings by Adair Jones on March 18, 2011


1 Finish everything you start.

2 Get on with it.

3 Stay in your mental pyjamas all day.

4 Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

5 No alcohol, sex or drugs while you are working.

6 Work in the morning, a short break for lunch, work in the afternoon and then watch the six o’clock news and then go back to work until bed-time. Before bed, listen to Schubert, preferably some songs.

7 If you have to read, to cheer yourself up read biographies of writers who went insane.

8 On Saturdays, you can watch an old Bergman film, preferably Persona or Autumn Sonata.

9 No going to London.

10 No going anywhere else either.

.

From The Guardian.

Advertisements

Rules for Writers: Margaret Atwood

Posted in Wanderings by Adair Jones on March 15, 2011

1 Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.

2 If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.

3 Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.

4 If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a memory stick.

5 Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.

6 Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What fascinates A will bore the pants off B.

7 You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you’re on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.

8 You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.

9 Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.

10 Prayer might work. Or reading something else. Or a constant visual­isation of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.

 

.

From The Guardian.