Friday 1 December 2023


 Today - the First of December - ABBA is pleased to offer a Guest Post from the pen of Miss Winterbottom, renowned for the long-running 'Advice for Aspiring Authors' Column (Jolly Journalistic Jaunts Magazine, 1932) 

Do read on . . .

Holly Leaves Red Berries Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Dear Fellow Scribes,

Alas! Winter, in my opinion, is the hardest season for Writers. One sits at one’s desk, oft-times without flames in one’s meagre hearth, attending to One’s Work (in Progress, Resting or at a Standstill) and finds One's Creative Spark chilled beyond Endurance.

Fear not! Today, I am suggesting Various Accoutrements that will make the sedentary life both bearable and productive, even as one’s Aspiring Thoughts cloud the inky page (or laptop screen. Ed.)

 The Winterbottom LIst of Author's Essentials: 

You will need:

1. A knitted snood: a most useful, soft, cylindrical garment for wearing round the neck, but without the encumbrance of lengthy scarfage.

2.  A warm woolly hat, if needed. Without, for obvious aesthetic reasons, any bobble, slogan or in any team colours.

3 A pair of fingerless mitts. Adaptable for use with pencil, pen, paintbrush or keyboard. Also of assistance when opening Biscuits Tins or Confectionary Containers.

4. One Essential Over-Garment to wear over one’s regular clothing. For example, a large flannel dressing gown; a Mariner’s oversized Guernsey; one’s Grandfather’s raglan Overcoat, or any other superior garment you have the bodily strength to wear. Nb. Garments with pockets only!

5. If at your Country Desk, wear thick Socks and Sturdy Tweed Slippers. However, for superior comfort at your Town Desk, fur-lined Ankle Bootees will look more stylish.

6. Several large cushions or pillows, strategically wedged in place to ward off draughts but, hopefully, not drafts.(Excuse my wee moment of wit!)

7. If available, a lazy, well-fed, friendly cat for close comfort on the lap or nearby. If no feline is available, use a wrapped hot water bottle, although this is a far lesser option in terms of literary companionship.

8. Warming cups of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Spirituous liquors occasionally, when necessary for inspiration. (Suitable flasks & vessels can be found in Superior Expedition Catalogues, especially useful on the maid's half-day off.)

9. If one wishes, an Amusing Sausage Dog door draught excluder, ha ha. Or large, real Dog, if handcrafted version unavailable.

10. And now, a Final Suggestion, if you are Comfortably Equipped but still unable to get on with your Vital Project:




No, Not you, Dear Writer!  

Holly Leaves Red Berries Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

 The Long Healthy Walk is for All the Others 

 so that now you can get on with Your Work, Peacefully, Cheerfully and Happily!

Farewell. I will end my December Advice with a newly-popular term, recently overheard on the Clapham Omnibus: 


Holly Leaves Red Berries Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Wishing Happy Festivities to One and All during this Season of Merriment.

 (As told to Penny Dolan)



Nick Garlick said...

Excellent advice. I find typing with fingerless mittens hard though. And no matter how often I let the cat read No 7, she refuses to comply.

Sue Purkiss said...

Such useful advice from One Who Knows! Thank you so much, dear Miss Winterbottom.

Penny Dolan said...

Thanks, Nick and Sue!

Nick, I had a most unhelpful cat in this matter too, though charming in many others of course.

Susan Price said...

Agree with every word! Mince pies should be added to spiritous liquors, though, for best effect.

Gabrielle said...

Sounds like grand advice Penny. Love it!

LuWrites said...

I'm in awe of Miss Winterbottom. Am rushing to knit a seasonal snood as I write. Probably :)