The Goldberg Guide to Writing (in 200 Words)

1. Read. Read a lot. Read everything you can get your grubby little hands on. For years, decades.

2. Live an interesting life. Make terrible decisions. Fall in love with drunken idiots. At crossroads, take the path strewn with fallen trees, pot-holes and gnarled branches clawing at your sleeves.

2a. Alternatively, live a life so excruciatingly dull that you are forced to live in your imagination.

3. Be grateful for your fucked-up family. Emotional blackmail, Olympian feats of denial and traumatic get-togethers are literary gold! Whether you write down everything they do as a coping mechanism or merely revenge, all the raw drama of life is here.  If you ever run out of material, you could do worse than telephone your relatives for a chat about what a disappointment you are.

4. Remember that the blank page is nothing to be scared of.  Remind yourself of this often.  Every day, in fact. One day you might even believe it.

5. Write thousands of words of pretentious bilge. Fill a forest-worth of notebooks with future embarrassment.  Fail again and again. At some point, fail better.

6. Shut the door. Sit. Pick up a pen. Repeat steps 4 and 5. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

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