I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog. My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Favel Parret and Rebecca James.
In each of these interviews I ask the following question:
Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…
“A young writer – any writer – needs courage, and also patience. Courage to write from the heart, patience to return to draft after draft.”
“Find your voice. Trust your editor. Don’t become a hermit and die alone because your cats will eat you.”
“If you’re sitting at your desk and the words aren’t coming, don’t give up. Stare at the screen or the page; move some sentences around; change a few adjectives; keep tinkering with your text. (Don’t go online.) Invariably, things will start to gel; it might take an hour, or even half a day. With a bit of luck, you might even find yourself in “the zone” – a glorious, almost frenzied state where every idea is gold and words pour out like water from a burst dam. If that happens, do not move from your chair. Ignore the sun going down and the house plunging into darkness. Don’t go to the fridge for a snack. Don’t answer the phone. Just type like the clappers.”
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.