The unbearable expectations of the first line

By Tom: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again. Last night, I tried for the hundredth time to craft the perfect first sentence. Do you know what I ended up with? I ended up with: “Master Bascombe?” That took me an hour to settle on. I’m not sure it will be making any […]

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The value of fantasy

By Tom: I take the first coffee of the day up to my attic room, and settle into the chair that perfectly fits my body. For a moment, I gaze through the picture window at the woods in the distance, beyond the meadows and green hills. I open the laptop, set down my coffee, and […]

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Coping with self-doubt during saggy middles

By Tom: Urgh. I can’t write for shit. And I’m bored of this character. Maybe I should just abandon this lost cause and start on the new idea that’s been keeping me up for the last few nights. That book could really be something; if only I were talented enough to write it. Self-doubt is […]

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How to find the time to write when you don’t have any time

By Tom: One of the realities of the writing life is that not many people can succeed in living entirely off the proceeds of their words. The majority of writers – even some very successful ones – make a significant amount of their income from other activities such as teaching, or public speaking, or criticism, or various […]

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Finding the willpower to finish the first draft

By Tom: We’ve all been there. January the first. This is the year! I’m finally going to get that first draft finished – just watch me go. There’ll be smoke rising from my keyboard… February the first is a different matter. The burst of energy and excitement that fired you up in the new year […]

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