The trouble is, I might be wrong.
I don't think I'm wrong for me - though I hope I'm always open to new ideas - but I'm certainly wrong for some people some of the time. For others, I'm wrong all of the time. That's just the way it is. For every writer who plans, there's another who doesn't, and another who does some of the time, and then there are those who are just muddling through writing ideas on scraps of paper. There really isn't a right, or a wrong way to write, just your way.
But there are people around for whom a totalitarian approach isn't a jokey comment at the beginning of a class. They tell you what you should do in no uncertain terms. Do this, do that - and if it doesn't work for you, then you have a problem because it works for me and I'm published and you're not.
All I - or any other writer/teacher - can do is make suggestions for things that have worked for us, and we might know have worked for others, and hope it works for you. It seems to me it's always worth having a bash and seeing what happens because it's no big deal if one method doesn't work; there's always another to try. I'm perfectly happy when a student says "I tried to to what you recommended, but it didn't work, so I followed what someone else said and that was brilliant".* I want people to enjoy their writing, and how they get there isn't about me, it's about them.
Anyway, that's enough for me for the time being. I'm taking a break over Christmas and might come back next week and finish off the alphabet, but certainly normal service will be restored after New Year. Happy Christmas everyone, and here's to a great writing year in 2012!
*Actually, not being a saint, I'm not 100% happy, it's b****y annoying and don't ever, ever do it to me - OK? Or it's time in the gulags for you.