On writing

Advice to Young Writers…

Advice to Young Writers…

2010 22 Jul_2509

Firstly, protect your space like a lioness looking out for her cubs.

Don’t answer the phone, don’t open the door. Be prepared to be isolated!

Stop calling people up just to ease your conscience – those who love you will understand your silence, those who don’t, are unimportant.

Go out every so often but let everyone else talk.

Never mention names.

Learn to ask questions instead of initiating monologues. Save your dramatic energy for your cameo characters.

Buy yourself a beautiful pen.

…And a beautiful glass for water – drink enough water. It will help you discharge the waste, i.e. the unsuitable, the messy characters who don’t work. Don’t forget to drink!

Find a fabulous hairdresser (mine’s called Goldenhands, a wonderful bald young man) and wear your favourite shoes. If you’ve been at the computer so long that your life is falling apart, you can still look down and feel happy and when you look in the mirror, well, at least your hair’s o.k.

Write a rations list. For survivors. What would you buy if it snowed daily until Christmas and you couldn’t leave the house for another month or so?

Eat well!

Write a haiku a day. Allot a certain time for this task and stick to it religiously. A haiku has seventeen syllables. This makes it short enough to tackle, if you only have a half an hour but long enough to get you lured into writing… Turning up for the job is half the battle.

So when you’ve finished your haiku, write a novel…

Get enough sleep.

Take every event; birth; death; a new dog; a friend’s divorce etc. and compost it. Well, be the compost heap… First watch it from behind your writer’s lens, then use it if it suits.

Let go of unimportant activities, people, jobs etc. Don’t clutter up your saving space, your inner life with unnecessary stuff’.

Forget buying seasonal decorations unless they inspire you. Save your money for your platform. You may be invisible now, but if you turn up for the job every day, give it what it’s worth, you will enjoy your ‘coming out’ and being the drooling envy of those coffee-drinking ‘in’ friends, who never really took you ‘in’.

Get used to being invisible.

Keep in contact with your inspiration.

Keep a fine line of communication with those who touch you somewhere deep down. They matter! They are not to be used! Be loyal to these chosen few. They are your friends. They lift you up as you lift them up. They might even be there to share your glory (though never count on this too much… success is a fair test of character).

Buy a selection of beautiful paper and draw a scribble as often as possible. Keep your hands busy – both of them…

Let it snow.

(Written on 1st December 2009 while it was snowing heavily….)


  • That’s lovely Frances. I really relate to the being quiet and observing. And I love the photo.

  • Was für eine schöne, stilvolle und sympathische Website! Wie kann man Frances nicht lieben? Oder Haikus? Andreas Niedermann hat auf seinem Blog auf http://www.songdog.at übrigens jeden Sonntag ein so genanntes Sonntagshaiku publiziert; das lohnt sich auch zu lesen. Frances wünsche ich viele anregende Kommentare. Und überhaupt eine erfüllte Zeit. Ihre Ratschläge an einen jungen Schreiber sind herrlich leicht hingefedert, mit einem Lächeln und einem Augenzwinkern. Abschliessend bin ich mir fast sicher, dass Frances an einem Gedicht, das ich jüngst auf Marilyn Monroe geschrieben habe, ihre helle Freude haben wird. Es geht so:

    O dieses Inbild! Marilyn
    Im weissen Bademantel
    Vor dem aufgerauten Ozean
    Ein Brustbild, die Augen
    Gesenkt, die Lippen
    Geöffnet, das Haar
    Ein Windspiel. Marilyn
    Nahm ich erstmals mit dem Eintreten
    Meiner Geschlechtsreife wahr (10 Jahre rund
    Nach ihrem physischen Tod) in der Bravo
    Ein klitzekleines Pic nur, schwarzweiss
    Die Monroe in Strümpfen
    O wie ich sie liebe, adoriere
    Nun, da das Senkblei
    In mein Leben trat
    Noch mehr – Göttin, einzige
    War Maria so schön, Aisha
    Oder Lakshmi? Helena
    Gewiss. Die Tage ziehen
    Aus & ein, heute, gestern
    Morgen: Marilyn bleibt.


    So inspirierte also der Schneefall anfangs Dezember auch mich. Immer, wenn Schnee fällt, denke ich, dass man so Poesie schreiben, die Buchstaben so aufs Papier fallen lassen können sollte, wie die Flocken fallen. Ich übe noch immer. LOVE.

  • ‘Muchibus thankibus’ dear Florian – you’re a darling!

  • I like the “get used to being invisible part.” I’ve found out that the sentence “I’m working on a novel” is a real conversation stopper. People look slightly puzzled for a minute, and then begin to discuss something else.

  • The age old wonderful words of advice – ‘Show don’t tell….’ – Look forward to ‘seeing’ your book 🙂

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