Aides Memoires

Prompted by a magazine article about clearing out one’s kitchen cupboards, I decided to conduct a similar inventory on my writing notes, wherever they were lurking. Not having a very reliable memory these days, I jot down ideas and material for my second novel anywhere I happen to be, and that means using anything at my disposal to record my bon mots.

As well as the more obvious notebooks by the bedside, in the living room and in various handbags, I have collections of notes in ‘bits and pieces’ documents on my PC and snippets recorded on my iPhone. But I also scribble handwritten notes and leave them in all manner of strange locations. Here’s where I’ve found little missives so far:

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Beginner’s luck pt 1

In which we examine some of the influences that shape our writing lives. In part one I thought I would look more closely at the peripherals – those external aspects of writing, mostly outside our control, that nevertheless directly affect how we write and what we write about.  In part two, we’ll scrutinize the writing process itself.

In my experience, writing isn’t a life choice, like exercise, or dieting. We don’t decide to become writers any more than we decide to become a man or a woman (well, most of us, anyway); by the time we’re ready to make such a conscious decision; writing has already made the choice for us. It’s a compulsion: innate, and as inevitable as death and taxes.

So let’s start with some advice:

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