Write every day, I say to my writers. I don’t care if you’ve got nothing to say; I don’t care if you feel someone has poured concrete into your brain; I don’t care if your fear gremlins are yelling at you about how you are no damn good. 

Just pick up a pen and write. 

You can write, ‘Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.’ You can write - ‘I’ve got nothing.’ You can write ‘I don’t want to write, I don’t want to write, I don’t want to write.’

Get your fingers moving, that’s all. Because if you let your mood dictate whether you are going to write that day or not, you are stuffed.

There is a timing thing, too. The whole point of this Buy Me A Coffee exercise is that I give you a thought every single day. It’s a tremendously good discipline and it gives me a sense of satisfaction. But the problem is that I have all my dazzling thoughts early on in the day. If I don’t catch them as they fly past, they are gone. I move on through the hours, doing my work, making my To Do lists, fretting slightly about all the stuff I’ve got to get done before Christmas. (My own gremlins are currently yelling: ‘Why didn’t you start earlier? Every damn year, you do this. It could be a lovely, seamless progression towards Christmas Day, but no, you have to leave it all to the last minute and then you get exhausted and gnarly and sweaty and panicked. Will you never learn?’)

By the time I get to 7pm and I have finished my last client, my tank is empty. I also - to shift my metaphors - have picked up an awful lot of barnacles on my hull. I think of moving through a day as sailing a great, stately ship. When she gets to the evening, she needs to go into dry dock and have all the mess and detritus scrubbed off her so that she can move through the water again the next day. 

So I’m worn out and I’ve got all my barnacles and those brilliant thoughts which I was going to give you have disappeared into the ether. 

This is where I have to follow my own prescription. I feel like I’ve got nothing, but I must write something. And luckily that dear old habit is deeply ingrained in me and I start to tap, tap, tap across the keyboard.

So my thought is this: even when you believe you’ve got nothing, you will have, hidden away in the recesses of your mind and heart, something. The writer’s job is always finding that something. And you only find that something if you are willing to dig for it. 

You find all your somethings by trying, by not giving up, by going on when you want to quit. 

There’s a kind of push you have to learn as a writer. You need to learn to push yourself forwards, not with whips and lashes, but with the humming habit of belief. 

There will, will, will be something there, if only I let myself start to type. If I let my creative mind loose, so it can gallop over the open plain, I will find my stride. If I throw open the gates, the prairie will be there, green and beckoning and new.

I wish I could remember the sparkling thoughts. I would have loved you to have those. But I lost them, somewhere along the way. So you get this one, which doesn’t do tap dances and can’t hit the high notes. But at least it exists. At least there is something, instead of nothing. And that can feel like a kind of triumph.