Sixty second writing tips: relaxing into it

Matthew Wright

I suppose I am revealing my age, but my first short story was published in 1976. An embarrassingly inept teenage story, but it was published.

It took me a long time after that, though, to call myself a ‘writer’ – still less to feel I was competent, though I had been trained in the art and eagerly launched myself into practical writing – which is the only way to extend that learning.

What became evident is that there is a gulf between knowing how to write in theory – and doing it in practise. Having the theory is ‘consciously competent’ – the writer knows the stuff and can assemble something per technique. But it shows – the resulting material usually looks contrived, certainly to an experienced eye. There’s a step beyond – ‘unconsciously competent’ – where the content flows and the bones don’t seem obvious.

The way to get from one…

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