Novelist Matt Haig wrote out 30 things he knows about writing. It was an attempt to "lay out the things I think about the strange and beautiful and slightly insane act of creating stories." I'm mesmerized by televisions in the snow...
Many of them are brilliant. I find myself reading this list over and over, so I must re-post it here, to share with even more people.
1. It should be fun. It often isn’t, but it should be. 2. Fiction reports the facts of the imagination. 3. The start is always hard. You start with words. They’ll become sentences, then paragraphs. And they’ll grow. Leave them to it. London was made of villages once. 4. If it feels dangerous, if you get that tingle in your stomach, you know you are doing something right. 5. The book that would be liked equally by everyone would have to be the blandest book in the world. 6. Writing is an act of love. That sounds pretentious. But if you don’t love words, or the species you are writing for, then why are you writing? What is the aim? 7. Writing is soul support. Most things in life that we are surrounded by are about external things, material things, superficial things. Books are about the opposite. “Read a book and you are giving yourself an inner life,” says Jeanette Winterson. “Reading is a rendezvous with your soul.” 8. The first time I know I am going to finish a novel is when it stops me sleeping and I have to get out of bed at three in the morning to write some of it down. 9. Books breed books. Words breed words. The key to good writing starts with good reading. 10. A paragraph in the morning takes me the same amount of time as a sentence in the afternoon. 11. Cliches are popular for a reason – they contain universal truths. The aim is to find new clichés. 12. Bravery is a prerequisite. 13. Genres can be prisons. Even the genre of literary fiction. 14. Writing is a public act. Write to include people, not exclude them. 15. Writers are meant to hate adverbs. But woefully is one of my all-time favorite words. It makes me think of a sad elephant. 16. Read it aloud. 17. Novel means new. A good aim of writing might be to find new ways of seeing. 18. Writing isn’t coal-mining. But it is bad for your back. 19. The 40,000 words moment is the moment you know it is going to get easier. 20. Markets don’t read. Humans do. 21. Read Emily Dickinson. 22. Words are what thoughts are made of. A book is a sculpture made of thoughts. 23. Editing is 90 per cent of writing. 24. See beyond a characters height and dress sense. Characters and dating profiles aren’t the same thing. Life is a feeling, not a collection of interests. 25. Have regrets. “Regrets are fuel,” as Geoff Dyer puts it. “On the page they flare into desire.” 26. Don’t let a fear of sentimentality put you off emotion. People like a book that makes them think, but love one that makes them feel. 27. First person needs a reason. 28. Writing is music. To write well you need to be able to hear music in silence. 29. People want stories. It is a basic human need. This will never change. 30. Books can save lives and minds. They saved mine. And we read them not always to escape ourselves but to find ourselves. They are maps for our souls.
What would you add to the list?