Category «Ideas»

Forgetting your memories (Mistake #123)

I’m late to it, but this article from the Wall Street Journal is a strong and satisfying argument for writing your memoir — even if nobody ever reads it. Penning your memoir can help you make sense of your character and your life and come to terms with difficult past events, the article argues; it …

Brexit II (Mistake #118)

It’s been well over a year since I wrote Brexit Part I. Where has the time gone, my friends? Even though we have since decided not to remain, the opportunities to write about Brexit do remain. In fact, I’d say they’ve grown. Had we voted to stay, I reckon they’d have declined. Some consolation, perhaps, …

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 …

Talent is sufficient / required (Mistake #96)

Many new writers tell me they’ve been told they have talent for writing – perhaps by former teachers who read their compositions for years, or friends who have received their letters, or colleagues who’ve found their emails entertaining, even when concerning mundane office and business matters. Some tell me they believe themselves to be talented. …

You’ve got we-mail (Mistake #95)

“I’ve occasionally found myself hesitating to offer work to someone who shared an email address with their partner,” an editor of my acquaintance told me recently. I’ve seen email addresses like that too. I’m sure you have, as well. Martin-and-Moira77@yahoo.co.uk. Baz-and-Bess@yeehah.co.uk. It’s a non-issue for me, as I’m rarely in a position to commission work …

The off-duty holiday (Mistake #94)

You’ll be taking your holiday soon. You’ll be heading off somewhere nice. Possibly abroad. Two weeks of sights, sea, sun, sangria – and certainly no writing. Those fingers need a rest, right? But does that mean you ought to ‘switch off’ entirely? If you’re planning on writing about your holiday – and you can find …

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