Category Archives: On Writing

The would-be author industry

When I studied for my Masters in Creative Writing years ago, there was a module called Paths to Publication. For this module I wrote an essay about the industry that had sprung up geared towards helping unpublished writers get published. … Continue reading

Posted in Editing, On Writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Biggest Obstacle to Writing

What is the biggest obstacle to writing? Lack of time, maybe. Lack of money. Lack of confidence. Lack of ideas. Lack of discipline. Lack of space. Lack of stamina. According to American author and teacher, Joyce Carol Oates, the greatest … Continue reading

Posted in On Writing | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Writing Advice – how useful is it?

This year has been a mixed bag for writers. Some have kept on with their daily, solitary routine pretty much as before. Some have found more time to write than before. Many, it seems, have taken the opportunity to send … Continue reading

Posted in On Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Where do ideas for novels come from?

I’ve been thinking recently about a question that’s often intrigued me,  both as a writer and reader: where do ideas for novels come from? According to Colm Tóibín, ‘the first sentence of the book comes to you unbidden, unexpectedly, as … Continue reading

Posted in On Writing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

What is Good Writing?

When I was studying for my MA in Creative Writing, a few years ago now, the characters in my fledgling novel weren’t allowed to nod. Nor were they allowed to sigh, smile or frown. My tutor banned these and many … Continue reading

Posted in On Writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Hygge for Writers

The past year has been the same as every other year: a mixture of good and bad. At one point I made the mistake of thinking, and even more dangerously, saying out loud, that my life was running smoothly with … Continue reading

Posted in On Writing | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Meaninglessness of a First Draft

I attended an author’s event recently at which Maggie O’Farrell gave a reading from her latest novel, followed by an interview and Q&A. When asked how many times she drafted her novels, she asked the audience to guess. ‘Twice? Three … Continue reading

Posted in On Writing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Competitive Writing

Next weekend I shall be competing in the European Masters Swimming Championships. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? But it’s really not. I’m just a plodder, not one of the serious swimmers. My goals are to post a decent time (for me), not … Continue reading

Posted in On Writing | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Writing as Therapy

I am just emerging from one of those stressful periods in life that come along every so often. One of those periods when you wake up in the mornings with your heart racing and your mind whirring. Days filled with … Continue reading

Posted in On Writing | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Warning: Writer in Residence

I recently took the opportunity of a few clear days to book myself into a hotel for some dedicated writing time, away from it all. I splashed out on a really nice hotel in the Cotswolds. I splashed out on … Continue reading

Posted in On Writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment