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…
“To write for themselves before they ever think about editors or publishers or reviewers or audience. The first person who has to care about what you write is you. How can you possibly affect or reach anyone else, if you are not affected? Never write to preach or teach or change the world. Try to use your writing to understand the world and your place in it. Try to incorporate the questions that animate your life in the things you write, that way even if you never get published, it will nourish and sustain you and help you grow. Do not write unless you are passionately in love with writing. Write all the time.”
“Tell everyone you’re writing a novel, then they’ll hassle and ask about it so bloody much you’ll end up having to actually do it.”
“Be patient. The average age of a first time novelist is 42. And don’t think you’re a genius. You’re not. Relax. Have fun writing! If you enjoy writing your book, chances are someone will enjoy reading it.”
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.