matt haig

Literary Birthday – 3 July – Matt Haig

Happy Birthday, Matt Haig, born 3 July 1975.

‘How to stop time: kiss.
How to travel in time: read.
How to escape time: music.
How to feel time: write.
How to release time: breathe.’ ~Matt Haig

Matt Haig Quotes

  1. The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy.
  2. Make sure, as often as possible, you are doing something you’d be happy to die doing.
  3. Wherever you are, at any moment, try and find something beautiful. A face, a line out of a poem, the clouds out of a window, some graffiti, a wind farm. Beauty cleans the mind.
  4. There is no standard normal. Normal is subjective. There are seven billion versions of normal on this planet.
  5. And most of all, books. They were, in and of themselves, reasons to stay alive. Every book written is the product of a human mind in a particular state. Add all the books together and you get the end sum of humanity. Every time I read a great book I felt I was reading a kind of map, a treasure map, and the treasure I was being directed to was in actual fact myself.
  6. There is only one genre in fiction, the genre is called book.
  7. Dark matter is needed to hold galaxies together. Your mind is a Galaxy. More dark than light. But the light makes it worthwhile.
  8. You can’t find happiness looking for the meaning of life. Meaning is only the third most important thing. It comes after loving and being.
  9. If you think something is ugly, look harder. Ugliness is just a failure of seeing.
  10. Laughter, along with madness, seemed to be the only way out, the emergency exit for humans.
  11. You are lucky to be alive. Inhale and take in life’s wonders. Never take so much as a single petal of a flower for granted.
  12. A book is a map. There will be times in your life when you will feel lost and confused. The way back to yourself is through reading.

Writing Tips (source 1, source 2, source 3)

  1. Getting the madness in my head down on paper, then organising it, makes me feel a bit more sane.
  2. Write as though your mother will never read it.
  3. The joy of writing never changes, however many books you have published. It is not always a joy. It is only a joy for a fraction of the time, but it is worth it, just for that fraction. And much of that joy comes from being that misfit kid grown up, leading readers and yourself to the wildest parts of your imagination.
  4. Beauty breeds beauty, truth triggers truth. The cure for writer’s block is therefore to read.
  5. Literary fiction is a genre that pretends it is not a genre.
  6. Humans get excited about new things. With a debut, you are the new thing. With every other book you write the new thing must come from elsewhere.
  7. Writer’s block = writer’s indecision.
  8. Enjoy it. There is nothing as exciting in this world as roaming the beautiful wilds of the human imagination. There really isn’t.
  9. Ignore discouragement. You’ll never know real negativity until you tell people you are writing a novel.
  10. If an editor is talking about culling their list in the first meeting, this is a bad sign.
  11. Hemingway was fucking wrong. You shouldn’t write drunk. (See my third novel for details.) Hemingway was also right. ‘The first draft of everything is shit.’
  12. It isn’t the words you choose to use. It’s the words you choose not to use.

Matt Haig is a British novelist and journalist. his books include The HumansEcho BoyA Boy Called ChristmasThe Girl Who Saved Christmas, Reasons To Stay Alive, and How to Stop Time. Visit

Watch How To Be A Writer by Matt Haig

Source for photograph: Matt Haig / Credit for photograph: Ken Lailey

by Amanda Patterson

Please click here for our Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 2nd July 2017