read a lot

May 28, 2018

girl

When I was about 11 or 12 I think I must have said something about how I wanted to be a writer; I don’t remember having any such aspiration until much, much later. But I must have said something, because Lucy [my governess] wrote to Somerset Maugham and said that she was governess to a little girl who wanted to be a writer and what would Mr Maugham suggest? Heaven knows how she managed to write to him – I suppose care of the publishers. He wrote a very nice letter back saying absolutely the right thing: “If your little girl is interested in writing then the best thing she can do is read a lot.” Perfect answer; exactly what I’d say myself.

Penelope Lively
On writing: authors reveal the secrets of their craft
The Guardian, 26th March 2011

Writing rules

July 11, 2017

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

Ralph Daigh
Maybe You Should Write a Book

(Somerset Maugham is credited by Daigh with making this statement. In fact Daigh was the true originator of the quote not Maugham).