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How to be a Writer

(A215 Activity 8.6 Writing in the Second Person. Part 2)
Instructions in the second person about how to be a writer (intimidating or satirical)

1. Write before you have woken up. You must do this even if you are paralysed. You cannot be a writer if you do not do ‘Morning Pages’.

2. Do an observation of your surroundings Do not check emails, listen to the news, eat or use the toilet. Ignore human functions and the outside world. You cannot be a writer if you do not do an observation of your surroundings

3. Read. Read a whole book every day. Tolstoy, Dickens, Jane Austin, Nelson Demille, Jilly Cooper, Barbara Cartland, Katie Price AKA Jordan. Read some good stuff and some bad stuff and always go to bed with a book. Do not have a relationship with your partner. You cannot be a writer unless you read constantly.

4. Do a haiku every day. You cannot be a writer unless you do a haiku every day

5. Do a mind map and/or a freewrite before you start writing seriously. Whatever you do, if you get a good idea, don’t go with it. Stop. Make yourself do a freewrite on the topic and then go mad. Draw out all the most painful and awful parts of your life – your filthiest secret desires, most painful bereavements, most embarassing secrets and let free your wildest and most murderous thoughts. Don’t stick to the point. Lose the plot. If you have a constant theme you’re doing it wrong. Share share share your basest, dirty, rotting, necrophiliac, debauched, immoral cravings and your weirdest obsessive, compulsive habits with your tutors and your publishers and your editors! They want your innermost debauchery and phobias, your traumas and your criminal minds!!! Now write your short story in exactly 2,200 (and stick to it) words based on your freewrite. You cannot be a writer if you can’t learn to follow rules and word restrictions.

6. Shut yourself away and listen to the voices in your head. Turn off the radio and the TV. Ignore your family and do not be influenced by real life and conventionality. This will not make good reading. You cannot be a writer if you are conventional.


child’s lone bicycle
takes a ghostly solo trip
in a howling gale

Sunday Morning

coffee aromas
as soap trails take leave clockwise
to Archers theme tune

Can you tell what it is yet?

cream and russet flash
as fluffy-tailed lithe shape
slinks under gate

12th November

dark window
in the middle of the day
light bulb reflection

An Apology

Today I was scribbling away in my notebook – doing an exercise from the A215 Big Red Book, listening to loud classical music (I think it was Bach at this point) and enjoying a hot frothy coffee. I knew I had very little time before school finished and I would become chief middle-man for my children’s social lives, so I didn’t want to be interrupted. The doorbell rang. Okay, I thought. So it might be a delivery…..hesitation…..Oh bugger – what if it’s Jehovah’s Witnesses…. I peered through the space of the porch and could only see one figure – tall and thin, not wearing black. Good. I opened the door.
A young, pale, tall, skinny chap with untidy grey clothes and very non-Hollywood teeth smiled at me.
‘Oh, hello’ he said unfolding a laminated piece of card and bobbing a polite almost-bow in a rather modest stand-offish way. ‘I’m an ex-offender…….’ I knew what he was saying and I had already sussed out what he was going to say, so at this point I had stopped listening and started to think about how I didn’t want to ask him (or anyone) in with his dirty boots and let him take up my time. I can’t walk him round to the garden to find my husband because I don’t have any shoes on, I don’t want to leave the door open because the house will get cold….. He says something about how he is making an honest living these days and I feel guilty for all the people that probably don’t trust him. To me it’s not about trust right now, it’s about time.
‘If you don’t mind I’ll just go and get my husband to come round to talk to you because I’m a bit busy.’ I said unconvincingly. Yeurgh. And I shut the door on him. I left him standing out in the cold and probably convinced him that I’m a thoroughly neurotic, stuck-up, middle-class housewife who needs to get a man to protect her from this nasty criminal at the door. Damn. I dashed to the back of the house and begged my husband to go round and buy something from him. Oh yes Mrs. Carter – that’ll ease your guilty middle-class conscience. How sickly.
I plonk my guilty fat arse back on my posture chair and think about how he must get that sort of treatment all the time and worse. I’m sure if the chap is allowed to come knocking on people’s doors as part of some rehabilitation scheme he’s hardly likely to be a huge threat to the general public. So as my penance I have completely lost my train of thought and have now given my time up to him without him knowing. And as an add-on punishment, hubby just came in to show me the nick-nacks we’d spend our depleting cash supply on!

So my apologies to this young man. I hope he does manage to get back on his feet. And I hope he won’t judge me too harshly.
I also really hope the ‘double pop-up basket’ proves to be useful . . .

And just to prove that I’m not THAT middle-class I’m going to put some rock music on now

8th November

emerald green lawn
where sun finds new angles
through the bare trees

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