Tuesday Therapy: Writing with Heart (and Fingers)

It’s that time of year again: when the table of contents for many Year’s Best anthologies are being announced; recommended reading lists are being printed; awards nominations are being bandied around the internetz; shortlists are being compiled and broadcast all over the world in acknowledgement of writing published in 2011.

Yes, it’s awards season.

Bearing that in mind, Trent Jamiesons advice this week is perfectly timed. Trent is the author of a slew of incredible short stories (some of which are collected in Reserved for Travelling Shows), the Death Works trilogy (Death Most DefiniteManaging Death, The Business of Death) and the Nightbound Land duology (Roil and Night’s Engines) — and he is one of the loveliest people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting. (I say “one of” because, seriously, he and Sean Williams would need to duke it out for the title of ‘Nicest Guy in Australian Speculative Fiction’. But since they’re both so nice, neither could possibly lose. Or win. Hence, “one of”.)

To top it all off, he’s provided an illustration to accompany his Tuesday Therapy session (see below), which pretty much rocks. In other words, this week’s advice is full of awesome.

So without further ado:

click to enlarge

Jealousy is poison. Career paths are up and down things so don’t compare your career to anyone else’s. And it’s easier to write when you’re not filled with a bleak despair that everyone seems to be doing better than you. Art isn’t a competition. Enjoy the process, enjoy the challenges, and enjoy the success of others. After all, your colleagues’ successes mean plenty of good stories to read, and you are a reader as well as a writer aren’t you?

Jealousy will poison your heart, and you kinda need that to write*.

*though writing with your heart would be messy. Fingers are better for typing and holding pens.

Trent lives with his wife Diana in Brisbane. His fifth novel, Night’s Engines, is due out through Angry Robot books in June. You can visit his website here. (Make sure to check out his Book Corner segments on Youtube. I dare you not to laugh.)



  1. Ha ha! Love the advice, love the messy heart-writing image… although the level of mess would depend what kind of heart you had. If you had a heart of stone, for example, you could possibly write with it, without being too messy, by scratching lines on something less hard. If you had a black heart, the charcoal would definitely make writing easier, though that would be fairly messy. And what if your heart actually belonged to someone else? It could get messy asking for it back just to do some writing 🙂

    All this talk of hearts is very appropriate for today too. Happy Valentines’ Day!

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