I am so delighted that Joanne Anderton has joined us this week for Tuesday Therapy. Her first novel, Debris, was one of the most enjoyable books I read in 2011 — the type of book that makes you wish, for once, that your bus ride to work was longer because you just don’t want to stop reading — and it seems I’m not the only one to think so! Debris has just been nominated for a ‘Best Fantasy Novel’ Aurealis Award! Its sequel, Suited, is due out from Angry Robot in mid-2012 and I cannot wait to read it.
Jo is also an accomplished short story writer: a quick glance at her website shows that she’s had a spate of short story sales this week alone, not to mention the Aurealis Award nomination she’s received for ‘Flowers in the Shadow of the Garden’, which is up for ‘Best Science Fiction Short Story’. Congrats!
This week, Jo shares some advice that is something I rely on in order to actually get work done. Whenever I talk about going into the oubliette to write, this is exactly what I mean…
This advice was given to me by a very close writerly friend. It came in a roundabout way, as I watched her discover it for herself, and realised how much it also applied to me.
The internet is an awesome place to be a writer. It’s full of supportive friends, story ideas, opportunities and, of course, cats. But sometimes, you have to let it go. Stories need headspace to grow, so give yourself permission to disconnect. This isn’t just an internet thing either, it involves everything that takes up creative and emotional real estate. Step away from the keyboard, no words today. It’s okay, really, it won’t go anywhere. Make time for yourself, say sorry, you can’t do X, Y or Z this weekend. Your friends and family will understand. Let the light into your brain, and the fresh air, and the rain, and stories will sprout. Healthy stories with strong roots.