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How I write

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

How do you actually do it?’ You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively.

Anne Lamott.

I’m best in the morning, as so many of us are who call ourselves writers. And now that I am retired and don’t have to catapult out of bed at the first ring of the alarm and be out of the house within the hour, I am giving myself permission to take the day differently. My study invites me in, my own special space, crammed full of photographs of my husband, children and grandchildren, piles of CDs despite my daughter’s attempts to interest me in Spotify, and of course, shelves of books. ​​​​​​​

I sit at my desk, open my laptop and begin my diversionary tactics.

At first it is tortuous. I can’t write, I’ve never written anything worthwhile in my life. I am fooling myself. I am a charlatan, an imposter a fraud. I should just go and eat worms.

But gradually the words begin to come and when they do, I relax a little and lose myself and the fears of being phoney reduce and recede and I find myself again. I am connected and I am happy.

I look up and two hours have passed. I make more coffee and set off again. Eventually all the other demands and insistences of the day begin to crowd in and I and realise that the morning has gone.

And afterwards…

The afternoons are filled with the myriad other pieces that make up the jigsaw puzzle of my life. I call in on my 94-year-old mum and deliver her shopping. I meet a friend for coffee and a naughty piece of flapjack. I roll up my sleeves and scrub the sink and polish the taps. And I walk and walk on the Greenway at the back of my house watching spring turn to summer turn to the blackberries of autumn.

And then later in the day, if I can, I return to my study and look at what I have written.

Maybe some of it will do, I think.

How do you write?


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