Keep a notebook with you at all times. Write down everything that comes to you snatches of conversation, hopes, dreams, jokes, slights, stetbacks, fears

Don't think you have to plan out every detail. Just make sure there is conflict and that all the tension is left unresolved until the end. Who wants what? And what is stopping them getting it?

If there are only nine plots in the world make sure your characters have proper life histories and that you know them as well as you know your friends (including the bits you aren’t supposed to know).

Write without worrying whether what you are doing is any good or not. The real process of writing is re-writing. You can’t edit if you haven’t written anything. Even if you only keep one sentence in four pages, that sentence will be worth it.

Don’t write to impress. Write to entertain.

Hide your research. Don’t show off. Don’t assume you are cleverer than your readers.

Read as much and as widely as you can. If you can’t read you can’t write. Remember it’s not all about you.

Make sure there’s always something more to know. Have secrets.

Develop an intimate, direct style. Muriel Spark advised: “You are writing a letter to a friend. And this is a dear and close friend, real – or better – invented in your mind like a fixation. Write privately not publicly without fear or timidity, right to the end of the letter, as if it were never going to be published.”

Make sure you have a great first sentence. Then carry on at that level.

You can’t always enjoy writing. But you can enjoy having written.