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Look at the work in your hand

21 October 2013

I've met a lot of authors weighing their options, seen a ton of hands shoot up in panels hoping for that one last piece of advice to push them off the fence one way or the other. There's a path on both sides of that fence, and writers can see crowds beating the grass flat. They can see the books that lie along either way. My advice, for what it's worth, is to stop looking at those crowds and those books. Look at the work in your hand.

'I don't have very much sense of myself, I think I've lived other people's lives since I've started writing them. I really have lived those other lives more than my own life. That's been a terrific thing to do, actually.'

Claire Tomalin, author of Charles Dickens: A Life in the Evening Standard