"The way to write a book is to actually write a book. A pen is useful, typing
good. Keep putting words on the page."
Man-Booker Prize winner, Anne Enright, lists this as rule number two of her
Ten Rules for Good Writing. It reminds me of a man I once knew who aspired to
become an artist. Asked when he would paint his first picture he
would answer that it was impossible to make a start because he didnít
have a large studio flooded with natural light. As soon as he found the right
studio, paint would begin to fly, he insisted. But in all the years I knew him
he neither found the right place to work nor painted a single picture.
So what does his plight suggest to writers, and what does Anne Enright really
mean? The message I take from both advice and anecdote is that whether it is a
picture you long to paint, or a novel you plan to write, just make a start.
Begin wherever you happen to be, using the materials you have to hand. Vincent van Gogh
painted his star-studded skies with a lighted candle strapped to his hat; Anne
Michaels wrote her beautiful debut novel,
between the hours of
1am and 4am while her family were asleep.
Every day that you do not write is a day gone forever. If you want to
write, and only if you do, start now.
Lucky Dip Barrel