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I’ve been slowly reading through the reddit AMA (ask me anything) Robin Hobb did today. She is one of my absolute favourite writers and I am eternally indebted to Jennie for introducing us. Every time I read one of Hobb’s books, and reading this AMA now, I just want to go and hide in the woods and write, write, write until my hands fall off.

I know I don’t need to go to the woods to do this, and I’m not even sure where these mythical woods are, but it just seems like the sort of writing where you need to be locked away in a comfortable room with candlelight and reams of paper and a good pen. Off grid, as Kevin McCloud would say.

I’m not finished reading through it yet, but just got to this bit and thought it needed to be shared, as much to be a reminder to myself as anything:

Advice to new writers. First, just write. A lot. Second is Read. A Lot. And if you are in school, I’m not sure that you should major in How To Be A Writer. Instead, consider all the things you are interested in and go learn lots of things about rocks or history or mushrooms or the Abyssinians (I’m pretty sure I spelled that right.) Because editors and readers will ultimately forgive you errors in syntax or formatting a lot faster than they’ll forgive you for telling a boring story. And one last thing to do? Write some more. And then read yourself to sleep that night. 

Edit to add – ooh, this too! I’ve always been a bit discouraged by those writers who Have A Schedule, as I am the sort of person who detests schedules and submits to them unwillingly. So it heartens me to read:

Writing schedule. No, I’m afraid I don’t have one. my computer gets turned on right after the coffeepot and it’s the last thing I turn off at night. I flit in and out of my office, writing pages, doing the laundry, deleting paragraphs, clean the cat box, put the paragraphs back, and add three more pages, make notes to myself on where this seems to be going, and go weed the garden. This works for me. I will quote here my remarkable writing friend Vonda McIntyre. “There is no wrong way to write a book.” So if this is very different from what you are doing, you are still fine.