Ten Things About Writing

Over twenty years of being a full-time writer, I’ve experienced many things. Changes in the industry; the rise of digital publishing; the changes in our reading habits and our interactions with readers.

But what never seems to change is the number of people who want to write.  Online or off, and in all genres, the passion for writing continues to spread, and with the new opportunities offered by the internet, writers now have many new ways in which to reach their audience.

Six years ago, on Twitter, I started to post frequent little ten-tweet threads  on the subject of being a writer. I did this in response to questions from both readers and writers about my process, my techniques and what being a professional writer entails.  Rather than repeat myself, I would hold these mini-seminars – after fifteen years in teaching, it seemed the easiest thing to do – and the short-form medium allowed for a degree of light-heartedness that I and my audience enjoyed. I took requests, and chose the topics that seemed most interesting and relevant to me.

Together, my followers and I explored a multitude of topics, from editing, to getting an agent, to festivals, to describing the weather, to how not to write about women’s breasts. For six years, I fielded requests to compile all of my #TenTweets into a single online resource. I liked the ephemeral nature of Twitter, and the feeling of having an audience, instead of just a readership.

But lockdown has changed our landscape, and after many requests from writers for help and advice in this difficult time, I decided to launch this project. I chose to go with a small press to show my support for a sector of the publishing industry that is under particular stress, and to bring out the book as an e-book at first, to enable those who need it most to access it immediately. It will come out later this year as a hardback, with some added material, including illustrations from master punster Moose Allain, whose cartoons on all aspects of the creator’s life have never failed to made me smile.

Whether you’re an experienced writer, or whether you’re still looking for the confidence to begin your writing journey, I hope this book can offer you something new and worthwhile. We’re all on a learning trajectory, and sharing our knowledge can only help make us stronger and more connected. My experiences as a writer may not be the same as yours, but we can all learn from each other. So take what you need from these pages; and most of all, enjoy what you do. Joy is such an vital part of creative writing – because if you don’t enjoy what you write, how can you expect anyone else to?

Interested? Buy it here at bookshop.org!

Joanne Harris’s Ten Tweets are a constant source of pleasure, equally welcome to writers and readers. Her tips are not only hard-earned and well-considered but they also spark debate and creative thought. Frankly, they are marvels in miniature. (IAN RANKIN)

Joanne Harris’s Ten Tweets have been tiny islands of sensibleness and wisdom in the sea of lunacy that is Twitter for a long time now, dispensing advice and distilled observation to those who follow her. I’m delighted they are going to be collected in one place and, selfishly, am looking forward to catching up with all the ones I’ve missed. (NEIL GAIMAN)

Joanne Harris’ #TenTweets series is an invaluable, no-nonsense and honest resource. Her pithy, often very funny, advice demystifies writing the publishing industry for new and aspiring writers. (CRESSIDA COWELL)

Joanne is not only a master of her craft but has the rare gift of being able to explain that craft, and offer peerless advice, in the clearest, no-nonsense, practical and entertaining of ways. Wherever you are in your writing voyage, Joanne is the perfect navigator. Learn, absorb, and enjoy! (MATT HAIG)