As 2013 draws towards a close, we thought it would be a good opportunity to share the 10 most popular posts on our site from throughout the year.
“I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.” ― Madeleine L’Engle
‘It’s hot in Melbourne and not just because of the temperature. Neil F*cking Gaiman is here.’ And so begins this one-hour long interview by Melbourne broadcaster Alicia Sometimes.
Gaiman and his wife Amanda Palmer are regular visitors to Australia where they both have a large and loyal fan base – late last year they announced on Twitter that they’d be making a surprise appearance at a city public library and over 400 people turned up.
In this hour long interview Gaiman gives a preview of his forthcoming novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and reads the book’s fifth chapter which he describes as ‘the shortest and nastiest chapter’ he has ever written.
He also discusses Dr Who, screenwriting, social media, Sandman and more. The session ends with Gaiman reading a poem he wrote for Australia Day.
- Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
- Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
- Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
- Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
- Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
- Laugh at your own jokes.
- The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.