I’ve never received any writing tips that have helped me – but then I’m not really a writer. I’m a woman who has bolts of creativity light up her mind and who then scrambles to get the sparks on paper before they crisp up and float off.

As a sophomore in high school, I wrote short stories with titles like “Spicy Horse Breath” and “Angsty Acne” – indicative of an urge to EXPRESS every adjective possible.

My budding mind craved detail and description: creamy, greasy, bellowing, fetching detail. I ran cross-country and during the most painful sprints and dullest jogs, I would craft a story that both transported me from the activity but equally included it: the salty stubs of grass were tickly-itchy crisscrossing my ankles; my gangly team mate’s shorts were hiked too far up to qualify as comfy – because the best stories are in the solid heartbeat of life. There is endless delight in the simple and easy patter of our daily activities.

I nibbled at this when I was 16, but still wasn’t a writer.

I left high school and trundled on to university. I wrote intermittently and at odd times during those years. I must have because I have a vivid memory of scribbling with my headlamp on while my roommate made out with her hairy and under-developed boyfriend in a bed not 8 feet away. I could smell my blueberry Pop-Tarts, safely tucked away in Tupperware – you don’t share Pop-Tarts with just anyone.

I wasn’t a writer, but I wrote and I was quietly certain that these somewhat innocuous pockets of life are the stuff of novels. We need to live through the quiet antics of a heavy-petting roommate and owning an actual headlamp, and decide that simplicity isn’t boring – drinking yourself silly at a neighbouring house party pales in comparison to living an awkwardly lit moment.

Now I’m 32. I carry a bendy, sea-green Moleskine notebook with me and scratch out thoughts all day long. Most are pretty mundane – good. Most wouldn’t be worth sharing and definitely not publishing – grand. Some are kinda, sorta, terribly inappropriate – smashing. Writing isn’t a special gift granted to a few eloquent or tortured souls. Writing is a therapeutic balm and an inventive trick we all have up our sleeves.

I’m not a writer, but it turns out that I do have a writing tip and I think my Labrador, Max, passed it on.

Max gazes at me intently when he wants his dinner or a walkies; he does not and will not let up. Guess what? He has never gone hungry or been refused his god-given right for a walkies.

Once his delicious wishes have been granted, he heaves out a sigh reminiscent of a Jersey cow blowing air and poo-straw out his juicy nostrils. He flops onto his belly; job done.

This is the only tip we need – writing goals or otherwise. Fix yourself on the prize, be damn tall-poppied about it until you get it, and then let the air out of your pudgy centre and rest.

Once you decide what feeds you, what breathes life into your lungs; it becomes fairly simple.

You won’t need to reach for tips because all of the simple moments in your life amount to a story. The story isn’t “out there”; it’s in here.

About the Author 

Haley Passmore doesn’t have any real writing experience except for a serious (borderline obsessive) love of notebooks and journaling. After nearly a decade in the public service, she has left to finally find work that is creatively fulfilling.

Haley is currently seeking any writing work that might be floating out there – don’t be shy! Contact Hayley on

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