Advice from Authors

Joan Lennon

Advice to Writers

Two things:

One: Read all the other advice on this site - it's excellent stuff!

and Two: PAY ATTENTION! No, really, just listen for a second.

I'm a piano teacher. I know how to teach my pupils the things they need to know to get the piano to make sounds. Then they practise (a little), bring something back to me, play it through. It's not bad, but it's not music. "Okay, do it again," I say, "and this time don't just play me the notes, like a tiny demented machine with something else altogether on its mind - PAY ATTENTION!" And sometimes they do. Sometimes they pay attention 100 percent to what they're sitting there doing, and you know what? They give me music!

To be a writer of course you've got to read. Read everything - good things, bad things, middle-of-the-road things. It's all to the good, IF you're paying attention when you do it. Of course you've got to talk to people, listen to people, watch people - just make sure you're really really doing that, with your whole brain, not just a bit of it. And of course you've got to write, and I'll tell you what. If you write with 100 percent of your brain in gear, really focussing, really paying attention, then I'm going to be so proud of you!

You'll have given me music!

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