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Stephen Kelman
"The process of writing a novel is an intensely personal one that, if it’s ..." More

Tip From Carolyn Jess Cooke

Believe in Yourself.  There is a quote by the historian Jacques Barzun that keeps me going when my belief in my writing starts to flag: 'Convince yourself that you are working in clay, not marble, on paper not eternal bronze: Let that first sentence be as stupid as it wishes'. Perhaps the most difficult thing to do as a writer – whether starting out or making a living from it – is to actually allow yourself to write (what you deem to be) total rubbish. The ability to shut off one's inner critic and just write is a craft in itself; on hindsight, it was this decision – to ignore the voice in my head that told me every sentence I was writing was nonsense – that enabled me to write The Guardian Angel's Journal, a book that had gripped me at a very busy time in my life (and so I had every excuse NOT to write it) and which I wrote in a very short space of time – the first 50 pages took just over a month, the rest just 11 days. More important than the time frame are the risks I found myself taking when I allowed myself to go with an idea, or ideas that I gave the time of day when my inner critic would have rejected them up front. Some of those ideas got weeded out in the editing process, but the trick is not to edit as you write – just write. Just believe in your writing and in your ideas, and imagine your inner critic as an on/off switch – when writing, turn it OFF.

Carolyn Jess Cooke, author of The Guardian Angel’s Journal (pub date – 14th April 2011). Published by Little Brown, an extract to the author’s own opening chapters can be viewed below. View The Guardian Angel’s Journal on Amazon

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