photo by zachstern

THE WRITER’S FRIENDS

1. The World. Jump in. Inspiration lives out there.

2. Caffeine and sugar. Coffee. Tea. Brownies. Cake. Cookies. And wine. For reward and solace.

3. Pets. Nothing like the wuffling of a drowsy beast to make you feel less lonely as you work. Dogs, horses, lizards, birds and rats. Cats are OK too, but they walk on computer keyboards. Bad kitty.

4. Agents and editors who Get It. Not the other sort.

5. Depression, madness, disaster, elation, divorce, affairs, travel, flat tires, new friends, new lovers, ex-friends, ex-lovers, mid-life crises and children who want to drop out of school to become professional skateboarders. (Life=Material.)

6. The Book, for occasionally coming out right.

7. The book you wish you’d written. (For making you write harder.)

8. Children. Why else would you need to sell so many books?

9. The career from hell that pays the bills. So as not to starve.

10. The film. For making your family and friends think you might someday be famous.

11. Family, fellow writers, loyal friends. When they say “You can do it.”

12. The internet. (“What kind of shoes did they wear in France in 1780?”)

13. Time: Writing is a long game. It might happen next year or in a decade. You never know.

14. Your brain. Listen and it will tell you what you need to know.

THE WRITER’S ENEMIES

1. The World. Reject it. Procrastination lives there.

2. The fridge. (STOP WHISPERING AT ME.)

3. Pets. Why can’t they walk themselves? Surely they know how to get to the park by now.

4. The market. As in, the book market. As in, “Have you thought about writing a series about magical lesbian mermaids? Marketing thinks it’s a brilliant idea.”

5. Depression, madness, disaster, elation, divorce, affairs, travel, flat tires, new friends, new lovers, ex-friends, ex-lovers, mid-life crises and children who want to drop out of school to become professional skateboarders. (Life=Distraction)

6. The book. For the days you would cheerfully chop it off at the knees and bury it in a hole.

7. The book you wish you’d written. (“I’ll never write one that good.”)

8. Children. It’s outrageous to tell your loved ones to shut up and go away. But necessary.

9. Your day job. If you have one, you know what I mean.

10. The Film. “When does it come out? Oh. You mean I missed it?”

11. Family, fellow writers, loyal friends. When they say any of the following: “I didn’t like it as much as the last one.” “Have you thought of writing a trilogy?” “You know that guy you hated at school? He’s on the New York Times best seller list.”

12. The internet. Twitter, Facebook, Amazon rankings, online shopping, adopt-a-dog websites, movie reviews, celebrity gossip, cute pictures of cats. Stop. It. Now.

13. Time. Write it before you’re dead.

14. Whatever you’re doing now that isn’t writing.

About Meg Rosoff

Meg Rosoff was born in Boston, educated at Harvard and worked in NYC for ten years before moving to England permanently in 1989. She wrote her first novel, How I Live Now, (released late 2013 as a feature film starring Saoirse Ronan), at age 46. Her books have won or been shortlisted for 19 international book prizes, including the Carnegie medal and the Michael J Printz award. Picture Me Gone, her sixth novel, was shortlisted for the 2013 National Book Award . She lives in London with her husband and daughter.