At the Dublin Writers Festival on Saturday, one of the audience questions was: what advice would we give to someone who wanted to write? The conversation went in the direction of reading, as it often does – and should. I never understand why people who don’t love reading want to write in the first place. But – you know the way the right answer comes to you later? All the perfect repartee, the should-have-saids that come to you on buses or in the middle of the night?
Here’s what I wish I’d said:
If it’s what you want to do – the actual work that writing is – then why are you not doing it? What are you waiting for? Permission? You won’t get it. An invitation? That’s unlikely too. Every writer has internal and external barriers to negotiate.
Choose it. If you want it and you’re not doing it, what are you doing instead, at any given moment of any given day? Why?
(I read with John Kelly at Smock Alley. The event was chaired by Mick Heaney http://www.dublinwritersfestival.com/ )