Category «Mistakes»

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 …

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, …

The comp’s a con (Mistake #97)

So, the following tweet caught my eye the other week … … and I found it pretty cynical and depressing. I have judged a writing competition, for The New Writer, and I can assure you I did not choose the winners by means of a lottery. I spent a number of evenings reading the shortlisted …

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. …

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