Category «Mistakes»

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. …

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 …

The Finite Well (Mistake #93)

“You can’t use up creativity,” said Maya Angelou. “The more you use, the more you have.” I imagine Angelou was thinking about fiction when she made this remark, but it applies to non-fiction and magazine writing too. Coming up with ideas is a creative process. You may think of a subject first, then develop an …

One hat, one home (Mistake #91)

Every bald man (raises hand) needs a hat, and every bald man of a certain age (raises other hand) tends to amass a substantial quantity of them. Here are some of mine, now collected on my new hatstand, bought from a shop fittings supplier, since every other hatstand available from conventional consumer stores bore insufficient …

Pussyfooting (Mistake #90)

Be a bit cool when you pitch. Be a bit chilled. Imagine (imagine only) you’ve had half a glass of wine and you have a smile on your face and that it matters – but doesn’t matter that¬†much. Some writers fret too much. I see their covering or proposal letters and they’re filled with signs …

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