Writing simply means sitting at a desk and pounding the keyboard.

LOWELL-PJA_4484 © Peter Adams 2013

Whether it’s a poem or a co-authorship, the writing process is much the same – you write all this crap at night, then edit it (next morning) into something that works.

Not something effusive, effulgent or lyrical. It’s just got to work. If it does that, it’s done the job. That’s what I tell my classes.

It mightn’t trouble Milton, but they always write something useful. Always. Family history maybe, a childhood story or an expression of their feelings.

Aside from one useless year as a professional fisherman, writing (or teaching it) has always been my job. From the outset I determined to fit into the marketplace, rather than hope the marketplace might ever fit in with me.

I never stopped working on my own projects.

That’s why I edited business magazines and ghosted books about cellulite, anorexia and time management. Privately though, I never stopped working on my own projects. These included keeping a diary, writing song-poems and occasional novels, interviewing interesting people and working on the biography of Tiny Tim.

Right now, I’m gradually putting my books up on Amazon.

It was Molière who said, ‘Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, then you do it for a few close friends, then you do it for money’.