Category «Mistakes»

Should you ever assign copyright?

I’m often asked this question. Is it ever OK to relinquish your grip on all-important copyright in your work? The ever-brilliant writing advisor Simon Whaley recently addressed this in a post, called The 0.01% Copyright Conundrum. In summary, Simon assigned copyright to some of his early non-fiction books, deciding to do so after going through …

Flattered and deceived (Mistake #124)

I imagine few writers begin writing because the prospect of being flattered by readers and editors is attractive to them, but I don’t think I’ve ever met one who didn’t enjoy the pleasure of being told their work was read, enjoyed and appreciated. It’s only natural and there’s no shame in it. We writers are …

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 …

Editors are rude (Mistake #122)

Believing that editors are rude is much like believing that people are rude — most are not, but a very few are. But really this is about all sorts of editorly behaviour which is taken to be rude by writers new to the game of writing. Being ignored by editors is widely perceived to be …

Unwritten letters (Mistake #121)

There have been paeans to letters before, of course, and I’ve written a few myself too, but when a recent one by writer Beatrice Charles captured some of the many charms of letters (and postcards) and indeed the joy of writing them, I felt moved to produce another. In the second of my writing e-guides, 50 …

Worrying about the expert (Mistake #120)

My writing specialisms are food allergies and food intolerances, which I’ve been writing about for well over a decade – news, articles, features, blogs, four books, with a fifth due soon. Naturally, I read a lot of material which covers my subjects, and a lot of what I read I think is poor. Is this …

Stopping when stuck (Mistake #119)

I don’t agree with all of Jeanette Winterson’s advice in this Guardian article from the beginning of the decade, but I do like the following: Never stop when you are stuck. You may not be able to solve the problem, but turn aside and write something else. Do not stop altogether. She meant it about …

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, …

You have one job (Mistake #117)

If being a writer and only a writer isn’t working out, then it may be time for a change-up. This isn’t about giving up being a writer – although I have written about that before, in Mistake #108, and don’t believe it’s something you should never consider – but about being more than a writer. …

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