You’ve done the courses, bought the books (maybe even read them), attended conferences and masterclasses, and queued up for a signing with a famous author. Perhaps this makes you feel like you’re becoming a better writer yourself.

For a while. And in and of themselves there’s nothing wrong with doing any of these things. I’ve done them, and have the shelves of dusty books to prove it. But has any of it helped me become a better writer?

Maybe a little. But time passes and before you know it, you’ve not really written very much at all. And you get to the point with the vague hope that a novel will emerge regardless, which is a bit like hoping to be Shakespeare when you’ve only written a few blog posts. Who can blame the words for not having that?

Writing is not unlike being in a serious relationship. You have to show the words that you’re committed and sincere, that they can trust you. Sometimes you might make mistakes and take them for granted, but you keep trying to do your best. You make time, show up, put the hours in and honour your relationship. You might not feel it’s worth it sometimes, that you’d rather be doing something else, giving yourself other options and escape clauses, convincing yourself you’ll make the time up.

But the answers are always within, so go there. Get yourself in the right physical and mental space, ground yourself, meditate, and get in touch with the words. You wouldn’t meet a friend without greeting them first, so tell the words how grateful you are and ask them politely for their help. They will know if you mean business or not.

Then get writing. Don’t insult your words by looking at your phone every five minutes, either (even my cats get annoyed when I do that). They deserve better.

Writing is hard work, and so it should be.