I've been replying to emails from readers this evening. Sometimes I write a lot, sometimes a little. Here's a fairly typical one, but after I sent it I realise that perhaps, in the last couple of paragraphs, I was writing to myself more than to my correspondent.
This was in response to a teenager who generously said my books had helped him in a creative writing task at school and made him want to write more stories. Here's part of what I said in reply:
If you’re thinking about becoming a writer I wish you a huge amount of luck.
Read EVERYTHING. Just read whatever you can get your hands on. If you don’t like it, find something else to read. It really is the easiest and most amazingly effective way of becoming a better writer.
Write a little bit every day. It’s practice.
Don’t give up.
I could rant on and on about what might help you write, but basically it’s all up on my website if you click on the HOW TO WRITE page. You’ll find it. Check it out and read the various articles. There’s one about how to use a notebook which is useful (I hope!).
Anyway, thanks again for giving me a boost with your kind words about my books and good luck with all your writing.
Stay strong, be different, have fun, love what you’re doing and even when you don’t love it, push yourself to get to a point where you CAN love it. Writing is frustrating. Learn to love the frustration and recognise it as the fire that creates new ideas... eventually.
Give yourself time but don’t give yourself any easy ways out. Push yourself. Did I say that already? Make it fun, but also make it HARD. If it doesn’t feel a little bit hard then you’re just coasting. Bust a gut. Get your brain to the point where it might explode. That’s what writing feels like. I hate it, but I love it as well because it’s kind of exhilarating. Now go and write.