Skip to Content

Advice to Aspiring Writers

16 July 2018

‘You must dedicate yourself to keeping a journal. When I look into my own journals, what fascinates me most about what was going on in my life 30 years ago are the things that we would consider the most mundane. What was I reading, who was I talking to, what were the main subjects of conversation.

Where you're living, what's on your desk, who do you love, even what you had for breakfast, it doesn't matter. The banalities actually begin to shine after many years have passed. You don't have to write in it every day. Once a week would be fine. 500 words a week doesn't sound much, but it really mounts up. That's 25,000 words a year.

The terrible thing about life is that most of it is forgotten. A lot of it is rich. And a lot of that richness can be retained for future use by an occasional excursion into a notebook.

Ian McEwan, author of 22 books including The Child in Time, Amsterdam and Atonement in an interview in Signature Ian McEwan Offers 3 Pieces of Advice to Aspiring Writers