Tag Archives: Writer’s block

Writing isn’t just about having an idea – you have to know what to do with it

I’m sitting at the bar of a coffeeshop in Amsterdam, scribbling away. A man, standing next to me, gestures at my notebook and says: what do you write? I’m actually writing about my notebook, I tell him. Some people who … Continue reading

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Something to think about other than how crap you are

Jonathan Lee told me he can’t write in that beginning to end way we used to have to do in exams. He likes to cut and paste. I take a lot of guidance from those school essay writing days: sheets of … Continue reading

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Perhaps we touch, my muse and I

My first sexual fantasies, age thirteen, were set in a boys’ school. I was the housemaster’s daughter, visiting on a stormy weekend, where an overnight dump of snow had left us without telephone or roads. I had started a fever. … Continue reading

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The art of becoming an original writer in three days!

We talk about that first ‘bite’ we get as a writer, the first punch of an idea. Something catches our eye – a painting, or a conversation between two people across the room. We watch. Suddenly we start to imagine … Continue reading

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Playful child and iron teacher: the two halves of the writer

I was nine when a new games mistress arrived at my school. She was a grey-haired woman, although she wasn’t old; I could tell because her eyebrows were black. Her bum was boxlike, giving an impression of very little waist. … Continue reading

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First drafts: allowing the worm to navigate the soils of your mind

I decided to go on a retreat a few years ago. When people asked me why, I tried to explain, but always got a sense I’d left something out; I circled back to the beginning, tried again. Words followed words, … Continue reading

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Does anyone else feel guilty when they see a police car?

When I was seven, I told my mother I wanted a willy. It looked so much easier for my brother. On family walks, having to squat down in the grass, I would often pee all over myself, or down the back … Continue reading

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