How to be a writer

We asked novelist Sally O’Reilly, who is researching creative writing at Brunel University, to introduce her new blog and forthcoming book. Sally writes:

I am a writer, journalist, PhD student and creative writing tutor with more than two decades of experience of writing for a living. During this time I’ve contributed to the Guardian, Sunday Times, Evening Standard and New Scientist and written two novels, published by Penguin books in 2004 and 2007.

In the process, I have learned a great deal, not only about how to write, but about how to BE a writer. This has never been easy, and in the current depressed and uncertain publishing market, it is perhaps more difficult than ever.

My experience has taught me that the greatest pleasure in writing comes from “process” – the act of writing itself. No matter how important it is to see your work in print (and it is very important) you still need to focus on the craft of writing for its own sake.

In addition, I’ve learned how to manage my writing life through highs and lows; overdrafts and advances; changes of agent and changes of artistic direction. I have learned to have lunch properly; give public talks; organise my office; read acquisitively and juggle day job and creative life. Most of all, I have also learned to share my experience with students and fellow writers, with the aim of helping to build a sense of community and shared enjoyment.

There is more on this in my blog How to Be A Writer and my forthcoming book How to Be a Writer: the definitive guide to making a living from writing (Piatkus) due to be published on November 3rd.


About Anthony Haynes

Director, Frontinus Ltd Communications Associate, FJWilson Talent Services

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