Category «Writing»

Keeping the dream alive (Mistake #127)

Could the next amazing writer to land a book deal after years of slog, after years of rejection, after years of their obvious talent failing to be acknowledged or recognised, NOT take to Twitter and promptly tell every other aspiring writer to do this: NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS! Share how excited you are, …

Politics and Brexit and writing

We’re in a cauldron of hot pickle, aren’t we. I can hardly think of anything else, day in, day out. I barely do any writing any longer — just bits at the weekend, on the whole, while during the week I do the mechanical things … invoicing that, printing this, responding to queries, updating blog …

Do me a favour

I struggle, truly, to understand people who don’t bat an eyelid at handing over £3.50 for their morning cococcino frappe-foamed mochalatte but baulk at the prospect of paying that, or less, for an eBook. Happy to support an international coffee-house chain but not an independent writer who may be shivering around a mug of thin …

Stop telling writers they have to be have-to-be writers

My response to a tweet from Northants Authors last week didn’t adequately convey my full annoyance at it. The original tweet was: ‘“You either have to write or you shouldn’t be writing. That’s all.” Joss Whedon’ — followed by some writerly hashtags. I don’t know who Joss Whedon is, nor whether his or her quote …

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 …

Stop telling writers that they should be writing

If you are in the business of telling writers that they “should be writing” then I’m afraid you are in the business of pissing me off. Swanwick Writers School are perpetual offenders of this guilt-inducing castigation. I’ve heard great things about their courses, but my experience of following their Twitter account for a year means …

My oat milk wants me to write

Yes, my oat milk wants me to write. All I was doing was making myself a cuppa – before settling down to a brief evening writing session – and there it was, on the side of my carton of Oatly. “Start writing,” it read. “It can be about absolutely anything, the weirder the better because …

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 …

Writing Your Non-Fiction Book

This book originally started life as How to Write a Non-Fiction Book — a series of three long articles for a writing magazine. I’ve now updated the articles, added a lot of extra material, thrown in the word ‘oomphlessness’ — for real! — and the result is a fact-packed ebook called Writing Your Non-Fiction Book. It’s the …

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