The secret is to start off by suspending your critical faculties and simply get the words down, more or less any words. This does not come easily at ﬁrst and can induce acute feelings of exposure and guilt. You imagine someone – a former teacher, your supervisor, the external examiner – reading your fumbling and incoherent sentences. The spectre of failure and shame looms! But you must dismiss these feelings as phantoms designed to distract you from your work, which they all too easily will. Many writers have well-rehearsed routines for avoiding writing – just going to tidy my desk, wash my hands, feed the cat before starting – until so much time has passed that, well . . . I might as well leave it until tomorrow.