Writer’s Desk: It’s Like Fishing

Here’s how Eric Idle—novelist, doggerelist, once and forever Python—described the act of writing:

Writing and doing. It’s still what I love to do. To go to your chair first thing in the morning with a blank piece of paper and a pencil and find what is lurking in the depths of your unconscious. It’s fascinating. I always compare it to fishing. You never know what you’re going to catch but you must go regularly to the river bank and wait…

He’s right, of course, you do never know what’s going to come out. It could be that paragraph you’ve been honing and teasing and searching for for weeks. Or it could be five more pages of What The Hell Am I Going to Do With This? You never know.

But keep casting your line. The fish will bite. Eventually.

Reader’s Corner: Eric Idle’s Rules

If you’re ever stuck for something to read, somebody else’s reading lists can be a help. Eric Idle posts a continually updated one that’s pretty smashing on his website here.

An inveterate bookworm of the highest caliber, Idle has also compiled a few rules for reading:

  • Rule 1:     Never be without a book.
  • Rule 2:     Skip all Prefaces, Forewords and Introductions.
  • Rule 3:     If you’re bored with a book, chuck it. There are millions of books you will never get to read, so if one doesn’t grab you, put it down.
  • Rule 4:     You don’t have to finish a book. You can always come back to it.
  • Rule 6:     You may read several books at once.
  • Rule 7:     You may skip and skim. This is not a class, this is life.
  • Rule 8:     Try and buy from your local bookshop while you still have one.
  • Rule 9:     There is no rule 9.
  • Rule 10:   Enjoy!