The secret to writing 2

Want to know the secret to writing? Turns out it’s not quite that simple…

Video transcript:

What’s the secret to writing? When I first started to write, I was a very bad writer. I mean, even by the standards of a beginning writer, I really was strikingly bad. And I was also impatient. I didn’t want to take the time to learn my craft. I was reluctant to do the necessary reading. I didn’t have the patience to learn skills one at a time.

So I bought one of those books that promises to make it easy. You know the sort of book I mean? Write a Masterpiece in a Fortnight. Unlock your Creativity in an Afternoon. Publish a Bestseller over Breakfast. And the book I chose contained some interesting advice.

It said that in order to unlock my creativity, I should turn the light off, close the curtains, and light four candles. Then I should arrange the lit candles in a diamond pattern on the floor, lie down in between them, and, for fifteen minutes, I was to hum.

Well, I tried it. And you know what? After fifteen minutes, I felt pretty good. I felt relaxed. I got up and crossed to my laptop and sat down like a concert pianist about to perform. Guess what? I was still a very bad writer.

Truth is, there is no secret to writing. Sorry. Anyone who tells you they can teach you the secret to writing, probably just wants your cash. The good news is that you don’t need to know any secrets. There’s no secret to being a mechanic – it just takes time to learn how the different bits work and connect. Same goes for writing.

So that’s what we’re going to be doing on We’ll look at adverbs and adjectives, action tags and attribution tags, narrative time and story time, comma splices and periodic sentences. We’ll be asking what novelists can learn from fern leaves, and why starting a short story is like writing a lonely hearts ad.

Of course, you can only learn technique. The inspiration, empathy, and life experience – that will come from you.

So there’s lots to look forward to for the rest of the year. Until then, thanks for watching and good luck with your writing.



  1. Thank you! The technical side of the site has been a big challenge for me, as I’ve never done anything like this before, but it’s getting there and I’ve loads of ideas for the content. The topics will start with the basics but I hope later in the year to cover some things that might be useful for postgrads too. Hope you’ve had a great Christmas and a happy start to 2015!


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