Would love to do a writing course but "don't know any grammar"?
Stand back and count to Nine

Postiversary Competition Highly Commended: Hairnet Aardvaark, by Lev Parikian

This is the last of of three Highly Commended entries to the This Itch of Writing 500th Postiversary Competition. I liked this post because it made me laugh and it's probably more true - though arguably less detailedly helpful - than all the other competition posts put together with the rest of the whole darned more-than-six-years' worth of This Itch of Writing. Having said that, if you want to bag yourself a Highly Commended, then grossly flattering the competition organiser in the second paragraph is no bad strategy either.

"A blog post, 500 words at most, which is helpful, interesting or illuminating for other writers".

The temptation is simply to provide a link to emmadarwin.typepad.com and add no more than a perfunctory "what she said".

But that would be cheating.

OK then.

Something helpful: Start with a word. Then another one. Then another one. And so on. If they're the right words, then so much the better, but even words that are hideously and obviously wrong can be hairnet aardvark useful, for the simple reason that they can be changed later. The main thing is to make sure there are words - without them, it all becomes terribly difficult.

Something interesting: If all the time spent reading 'Advice for Writers', 'Ten Rules of Writing', 'Fifty Shades of Successful Writing' and other such irrelevances were spent actually writing, the universe would collapse in on itself under the sheer weight of words produced.

Something illuminating: A light.

Right, that's that done, in a total of exactly 200 words (up to and including the word 'same' at the end of this paragraph). I'm going to take the spare 300 and use them in some actual writing. I suggest you all do the same.

Lev Parikian spends a lot of time standing in front of people waving his arms in the hope that sounds will materialise. He also spends a lot of time staring at a computer screen in the hope that words will materialise. The production of his first book, Waving Not Drowning, the armchair guide to conducting, earlier this year, was therefore a triumph of hope over experience. He lives in London with his [redacted], [redacted], and three domesticated (and, rest assured, entirely neutralised) [redacted]. He has never been to Uzbekistan. He blogs at runnythoughts.com and Waving Not Drowning can be found at wavingnotdrowningbook.com.