Journalistic reports on matters of interest to writers, often practical, from a broad perspective.

Letter from London #27

Surveying recent discussions about different approaches to writing, I spied a glaring gap. Little, if anything, has been said about the essential avoidance strategies available to the seasoned writer embarking on a new project.

For instance, the meticulous lining-up of pens, pencils and paperclips along an arbitrarily ruled straight line on the desk (if using the old-fashioned, pre-computer approach). Even before that, deciding whether a cup of tea, or should it be coffee, is the better way to kick off the working day? And should that beverage go with a chocolate biscuit, or is a slice or two of toast with honey or preserves called for?

For some, the answer to undertaking a really rewarding day's work may involve preparation of what's known as a 'Full English' – various breakfast combinations of egg, bacon, toast, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread, orange juice, etc. Which can take up to the best part of an hour.

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