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RLF writers explore the link between creativity and the world beyond the desk, touching on the role of exercise, the plight of the environment and the challenges of family life.


Royal Literary Fund writers explore how their writing relates to the people around them, taking in everything from working with community groups to dealing with isolation.

'Writing is dreams caught in butterfly nets. It’s falling in love for the first time. It’s adventures my knees are too old to have. And mysteries my brain is too dull to solve. Writing is my escape. My means of coming back to myself. I write because I love it.'

In this installment of 'How I Write', Royal Literary Fund writers discuss how they cope with the urge to procrastinate, touching on issues such as background noise, the usefulness of deadlines and the perils of having room with a view.

'I began to internalise the rejections, to believe in a way I hadn’t when I was younger, that the editors, agents, publishers were right — my work wasn’t good enough; of course they didn’t want it. The rejections began to affect me. They began to fray me.'
'How will we ever code for experiences of wonder, grief, joy and awe? How will a humanoid artist ever yearn? Such experiences will never be reducible to simulated feelings, even if simulations might be transmitted across our neural networks. '
'If I’ve put in enough hours, if I’ve proved to the Muse that I am dedicated and loyal, there comes a time when she does arrive, unexpectedly and unannounced, in all her golden glory. And when this happens I don’t have time for inspirational quotes. '
'How do you get your ideas?’ If this seems a silly question to you: try not to say that. Think ahead and make up a reason. You’re a creator! Invent. And if your audience is bijou — shall we say — involve them.'
Anna Wilson reflects on her writerly beginnings, how she found the confidence to call herself a writer, and the circularity of her career.

Lesley Glaister speaks with Caroline Sanderson about the mystery of why some of her characters roar into life while others don’t; pays tribute to Hilary Mantel as a friend and mentor of her work; and argues that the heart of her fiction doesn’t only lie in darkness, but also in the triumph of the human spirit.

'I do believe that, alongside metaphors, allegories and similes, a writer’s life itself is but another literary device to be incorporated into their work, particularly when their own lives start feeling like a cluster of meaningless oxymorons. Difficult? Enormously so. '
'Julia Cameron states that writer’s block needs to be radically reconfigured as a sign that the writer has too many ideas, not too few. When I read that for the first time, it wasn’t so much a lightbulb moment as a full-scale Son et lumière in my head.'
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