Becoming a Writer (Mistake #106)

Know any Writers? I hope not. I’ve shared breathing space with several over the years and how my personal swearbox remained unfilled on each occasion remains a matter of mystery to me. A Writer is three things: a/ a former aspiring writer b/ a current professional writer, and c/ a writer who wants all current …

Brexit (Mistake #105)

I have my views on the Brexit, but I shan’t tell you them, because you don’t care. I presume you have yours, and I hope you extend me the same courtesy, because I don’t care either. Don’t write about why you think we should stay or why we should go. Do write about what the …

Binning the boring and the bad (Mistake #104)

Some examples of boring ideas: * Me and My Beauty Routine – for a glossy women’s magazine * The NHS is Wonderful – for the Guardian * “I love Dogs” – for a dog magazine These are just terrible. When I see something like this I don’t tell the student they’re terrible, but I do …

Experimentlessness (Mistake #103)

Experiment, argues Simon Whaley, in one of his recent posts, in which he called for writers to submit contrasting and distinctive entries when intending to submit more than one to a writing competition. It was such a good idea, I thought the principle – or a version of it – could be applied to pitching …

Desperation (Mistake #101)

This may sound harsh but it needs to be covered.    Nobody wants to hire desperate people. You’re a writer. Writers write. Writers want to sell their work. Every editor knows that. It comes with the territory. Wanting to sell is the default setting.  Being desperate to sell is not the default setting.    If …

New ebook: 50 Mistakes Beginner Writers Make

I wouldn’t normally recommend taking around three years to finish a book, but that’s how long my latest appears to have taken me. What can I blame? Absence of editor breathing down my neck? No deadline to meet? Other work demanding daily attention? All of those things. Once I’d got into the swing of this …

Volte Facebook (Mistake #100)

It took me a while to succumb to the temptation of Twitter. Once I did, I found it enjoyable and very valuable – as a news feed, as a medium to interact with other writers, and to learn about opportunities I could pass on to my Writers Bureau Students (if not make the most of …

No sampling (Mistake #99)

A recent blog post by Simon Whaley put forward an interesting idea from journalist Nick Fletcher. I’ve edited lightly for clarity: “If you want a regular column … offer to supply a column and give the editor the first three or six pieces on a free trial basis … Once the free trial is over, …

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