I’m thinking today about the writers I work with and the hurdles they face. ‘I don’t know where to start,’ they often say to me. The thing is: they do know, they just don’t believe that they know. The world gets to them, and all the voices in the head that say they aren’t good enough, and they lose themselves. They forget all their brilliance and all the wonderful thoughts they have and all the stories they want to tell. So they stop, and freeze up, and get lost.

I know this, because it sometimes, even now, happens to me. 

I’d love everyone to write - not necessarily for publication, but for pleasure. For consolation, for relief, for catching the memories as they fly by. The ‘where do I start?’ question is not just for the novelists and the poets and the playwrights, but for all of us.

And I love to start with three minutes, every single day. Find your favourite time, at dawn or dusk, and set a timer, and pick a word - love or joy or hope or sorrow - and write to that word as hard and fast as you can. Go so quickly that you outrun your fear. Don’t give a damn about dancing sentences or perfect grammar or pristine syntax. Write without slowing or pausing or thinking. Just get it all out, and then stop, and take a breath, and feel that sensation going into your muscle memory.

I’ve seen someone get very hurt this week, and I want to say to her: write it down. Give it to the page, because the page can take anything. Don’t carry that weight of regret and heartbreak around with you, because it is a burden too great to bear. Write it down and write it out and then do it all again tomorrow.

Do it until the lightness comes again.