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13 Rules for Writing


Write in a bathrobe.
Or underwear.
Or naked.
Or whatever you put on when no one’s around.


I wanted to write in cafes.  JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter in a cafe.  There must be something magical about such a place. Maybe it’s the coffee fumes.  Maybe it’s the cushy chairs.  Maybe it’s the bear claws.  I don’t know or care.  The magic of cafe is the kind of magic that I don’t need to understand to harness.  And I wanted to harness it.

Cafes are magical places for writing.  So are hilltops in the sunrise.  And empty beaches.  And park benches on posh, manicured lawns.

Cafes are magical places for writing.

Writers don’t sell places.  They sell books and stories in books and characters in books and the magic in the books and the places in the books.

I dreamt of going to Hogwarts, not a cafe in Edinburgh.

Writing can be done in a jail cell.  It can be done in a kitchen over the heads of inquisitive children and burnt dinners.  It can be done in buses to avoid the skeevy bum in the next seat.   It can be done in a cubicle to avoid spreadsheets and manilla folders.

Books and stories and characters can come to life sipping lattes in artsy black turtlenecks.

Or evening gowns.

Or bathrobes.

Or naked.

Or granny panties.

Or anything else you wouldn’t want to wear to a cafe.

6 Responses to “13 Rules for Writing: Rule #1”

  1. live60

    I like to write in my home office, but can write anywhere. Maybe with Rowling’s writing in the cafe means, real writers can write anywhere, just like rock stars can play anywhere. Those needing the right mood, one more writing lesson, one more college course, just aren’t writers. You described what a real writer is very well.


    • aeliusblythe

      Real writers write anywhere. Yes, and that’s the difficulty isn’t it? How many people are there who say they have a great idea for a novel or they’ve always dreamed of writing one, but for this or that reason they didn’t. But that’s the difference between someone with an idea and someone with a novel. Writers write. They find a way.

      • Nadine

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  2. dmmaster42

    I have found that I write best when it’s late at night. I’ve never understood why, but I just go with it. Writing in a bathrobe is something I’ve never done but it sounds fun. I will try that sometime.

    • aeliusblythe

      I do too actually. Well, I’ve gone through phases. I was in eastern China last summer where it gets light at about 4am (wonky time zone thing) so for a while I was getting up balls-early and writing before work. Normally I can’t get anything on paper, or, well, screen until nightfall.

      Sometimes I think at night there are fewer distractions. It’s quieter, no one’s running around, less traffic noise. But then again, I’ve been in places where it was loud all the time, like when I was in the dorms, and I still wrote at night.

      It’s possible writers are just a nocturnal species.

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