How to feel virtuous

I promised that this blog would occasionally carry more discursive posts, so last night – in a special limited edition entry – I treated you to the single-draft sleep-deprived ramblings of a parent who needs to find the time to write but who also has a teething, sleep-deprived baby. Don’t worry – there is a purpose. Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot in classes about the difficulty many students have in simply finding the time to write. Some of you have no trouble with this, but for most writing is something stuck at the end of an ever-changing queue of higher priorities. Sometimes it seems that even doing the hoovering is more important. I share your pain, but unfortunately there is no cure. The only thing you can do is find ten minutes, or just five, and put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, stylus to tablet, and just write something – anything – no matter how random, embarrassing, off the wall, personal or difficult it may be. It might look like drivel but this is called practice and it’s necessary: you exercise the writing muscle and it gets stronger. Meanwhile, you are recording something of yourself and generating ideas. It’s that simple.

Some recommendations for motivation:
1. If you haven’t written for a day or two, be like me and feel guilty. Then write something and feel virtuous 🙂
2. Find something that will help you write – keep a diary or start a blog at or sign up for one of the websites I mentioned recently in the advanced classes
3. Find a competition and enter it. Here’s a link to one of the best and most encouraging to new writers. On the home page there’s a clock that’s counting down to the closing date – very motivating
4. Finally, here’s some essential reading from one of the longest-running online blogs in existence. The writer is brutally honest about the issue of finding the motivation to write – especially in his last three sentences – but think of it as tough love. It certainly got me back to the keyboard


  1. robina fisher · · Reply

    Lying on your deathbed made me think. Don’t want to say, well I watched a lot of TV

  2. Irene Lebeter · · Reply

    Thanks for this David – I will run things off your blog for Mhairi.
    Irene Lebeter

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