I tell them to get an exercise book.. If you haven’t got any ideas just copy out something that you’ve liked in someone else’s book… But copying is what artitsts do; it’s often how they start, I think. And, I know (if) because I still use a pen quite a lot, I know that if I copy something out, there’s a sense that, you’re sensing with, sensing with your body the sort’ve joints of the sentence and how the, the weight of the sentence is gathered and carried and how it’s kind’ve slung from one end of the sentence structure to another. That always gives me a great deal of pleasure. You have to write slowly, and you can see how it’s done, even though you don’t know how to do it — but you can — you can see the joints of the thing.

– Transcribed from ABC Radio National coverage of Sydney Writers’ Festival 2008, Helen Garner

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