Three rules for writing a novel

Somerset Maugham (Of Human Bondage) said, ‘There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.

No, but there are a few powerful guidelines and here’s one of mine:

Any time writing is coming at you fast and hot, demanding to be written, haunting your sleep, dominating everything else you try to do, drop everything (including this blog) and write it as fast and as fully as you can. If you really don’t have time to write it now (you are critically ill in hospital, for example), take notes as fully as you can. You can still have a happy writing life but that particular burst of inspiration may not come again.