Nov 052012

Simon Rose concludes his insight and tips on how you can start to be a writer. Have you heeded any of his advice yet? Do tell!

Activities unrelated to writing can often unlock your inspiration, whether it’s doing laundry, walking the dog, tidying the house, mowing the lawn or doing the dishes. It’s surprising how even the most mundane situations can launch you on the road to your next story. Consider airports, for example, where there is usually little to do while you’re waiting for at least an hour for your flight to leave. However, you’re surrounded by many different kinds of people, as they eat snacks, drink coffee, read books, newspapers or magazines, listen to music or perhaps chat to the person beside them. You don’t know these people at all, but to the writer, such a situation can provide a wealth of material, as you can pass the time idly speculating about the lives, jobs, families, even the hopes and dreams, of your fellow travelers. Similarly, if you undertake a regular journey to work on a bus or a train each morning with hundreds of other people, the possibilities for inspiration are almost endless.

If you drive to work, you probably don’t normally notice the same old things you pass each day, such as company names and logos, advertising billboards, road signs and so on. And yet these things too can provide a starting point for your writing. As an exercise, choose a selection of things that you see one morning, completely at random, then write them down once you get to work. From there, your task is to create a short story, even if it’s only one page, involving all of those items. You could also perhaps choose ten words that you encounter on the way to work and write a short piece using all of those words at least once. And if your day wasn’t that interesting, turn that into a writing challenge too. Recall the most mind-numbing aspect of your day and write a short poem about it. It might not win any awards for content or style, but creating that poem about such a bland topic might be just what you need to get moving with your writing.

Simon Rose is the author of The Alchemist’s Portrait, The Sorcerer’s Letterbox, The Clone Conspiracy, The Emerald Curse, The Heretic’s Tomb, The Doomsday Mask and The Time Camera, plus many non-fiction books for children. Visit his website at or his blog at

Thank you for writing Simon and thank you again for reading,

Sarah Butland author of Sending You Sammy, Brain Tales – Volume One and Arm Farm

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