Knobbly monsters

Do you know what a knobbly monster is? Having just a few weeks ago come across the term, I’m not ashamed to say that until then I hadn’t a clue — and this, two decades into a career in journalism and writing. So on the basis that surely I can’t be the only one, here’s …

A trilogy of writing error …

I’d long been envisaging an eventual collection of four books in the Mistakes Writers Make series …. followed in future, perhaps, by a sequence of more specific titles written by other writing advisors — such as 50 Mistakes Travel Writers Make, 50 Mistakes Parenting Writers Make, and so on. More about those future titles later …

Lists of writing competitions

My list of writing competitions for non-fiction writers had been getting a little unwieldy of late, so I decided to separate it into three distinct lists: * one dedicated to UK / Ireland / Europe — click here;* one dedicated to US / Canada — click here; * and one dedicated to Australia / New …

Rejection for writers

In the first of my writing guidebooks, 50 Mistakes Beginner Writers Make, I wrote the following: Rejection means you’re doing things — you’re writing ideas, you’re writing articles — and getting them looked at. It means you’re getting out there … And a line or two later: Rejection isn’t winning, I know, but it isn’t …

When can you call yourself a writer?

When I tutored writing students, I would get asked this question regularly. When can I call myself a writer? It’s not a straightforward one to answer. Yet on social media, I periodically see established writers be bluntly dogmatic about it: “If you write you’re a writer!” they insist. “End of!” Except no, not ‘end of’ …

Keeping the dream alive (Mistake #127)

Could the next amazing writer to land a book deal after years of slog, after years of rejection, after years of their obvious talent failing to be acknowledged or recognised, NOT take to Twitter and promptly tell every other aspiring writer to do this: NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS! Share how excited you are, …

Politics and Brexit and writing

We’re in a cauldron of hot pickle, aren’t we. I can hardly think of anything else, day in, day out. I barely do any writing any longer — just bits at the weekend, on the whole, while during the week I do the mechanical things … invoicing that, printing this, responding to queries, updating blog …

Three writing blogs

Following the publication of the paperbacks of my books 50 Mistakes Beginner Writers Make and 50 More Mistakes Beginner Writers Make last month I have been pretty busy writing about writerly errors and answering questions about non-fiction. Allow me to direct you towards it all … 1/ First off, Patsy Collins, who runs both her …

Do me a favour

I struggle, truly, to understand people who don’t bat an eyelid at handing over £3.50 for their morning cococcino frappe-foamed mochalatte but baulk at the prospect of paying that, or less, for an eBook. Happy to support an international coffee-house chain but not an independent writer who may be shivering around a mug of thin …

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