TOP TIP Paige Toon

Enjoy writing what you’re writing. It sounds so obvious, but every writer experiences writers’ block at some point – that horrible feeling of sitting in front of your laptop, staring at an empty screen and not knowing how to start or where to go with a chapter once you’ve started it. I’m a full-time mum and my window to work – during my one-year-old’s morning nap while my son, age 3, is at nursery – is very small, so I can’t afford to waste any time. If I find myself stuck on a scene, I try to leave it there and instead write about something else that excites me – another scene further on in the book, a lovers’ tiff, that first kiss – even the ending! I’ll come back to my difficult scene later, or in some cases, lose it completely and move the story onwards and upwards instead. I strongly believe that if you don’t enjoy what you’re writing, then the reader won’t enjoy what they’re reading. I think my best work is the stuff that flows – that’s when I’m right inside my characters’ heads, living and breathing their stories – and trying to remember to come back to the real world in time to collect my son from nursery.

Paige Toon is the author of novels including Johnny Be Good and Pictures of Lily. She was born in 1975 and her dad’s career as a racing driver meant that she grew up between Australia, England and America. She lives in north London with her husband and two children. Her new book, Be My Baby, is released on July 21.

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