Anne's shares her top tips for aspiring writers...
I love lists and ‘How to …’ manuals, but like most people, I read them and then promptly forget to follow the advice.
So, if you want to write, you must trick yourself!
How to trick yourself into writing?
1. Get up early- set the alarm for one hour earlier than usual. Tell yourself it’s worth it. This is an important mission. You would do it to catch a plane!
2. Allow yourself ten extra minutes in bed- but this is to access the ‘hypnopompic’ state, where you dream. Close your eyes again, to see and imagine and visualise the setting of your story, and what your characters are doing. So now you have a film in your head behind your eyelids. Your job is to
capture it in words.
3. Boil the kettle, make tea, and drink tea! Lots of it! Or coffee, if that’s your poison. Kick start your brain.
4. Refuse absolutely to pick up the washing and load the machine. Or dishwasher. They can wait. That plane is about to take off.
5. Listen to the news headlines- then switch off the radio! It’s all blather and you don’t need to stuff your brain with it. Press the button. You can do it.
6. Scroll through your phone for your messages- then bury the phone under a cushion on the sofa in another room! Make sure it’s on silent.
7. Go for a walk- even around the sitting room. Or hang your head out the window. Breathe fresh air. Lots of it. Your blood cells need oxygen.
8. Nail yourself to the hard chair- it must be hard! Or use chains…(glue is too messy).
9. Use the bathroom before chaining or nailing. No excuses!
10. Set a target- one page, two pages, three pages if you write longhand. Or, 1,000 words minimum at the first sitting.
Get into the zone. Tap those keys. Take up that pencil. Go!!
“A hypnopompic state (or hypnopomp) is the state of consciousness leading out of sleep, a term ... non-linear images and associations; the hypnopompic state is emotional and credulous dreaming cognition trying to make sense of real world”
Anne McCabe is a storyteller who has won many awards for her documentaries and original TV dramas with strong social themes. Anne joined RTE, the Irish national broadcaster, as the youngest producer/director to date, and then the new TG4, the Irish-language channel, in 1996 as Commissioning Editor. Anne has adapted international thriller writer Ken Bruen's