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Category: Productivity

Away Days!

Away Days!

If you read my Business of Writing column in Writing Magazine you may recall that I’m currently working a Short-term temporary employed contract for a couple of days a week. Last week, I had to reacquaint myself with the joys of the Staff Away Day, when everyone in the organisation gathered together in a village hall (in the middle of nowhere) to make complete fools of ourselves. There were the usual team-building exercises: people being blindfolded and others describing pictures…

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Festive Frustrations

Festive Frustrations

As Christmas draws closer, I thought I’d look back a couple of years to when I chatted to three writers about how they manage their writing businesses during the festive period. In the world of paid employment December is one long month of office parties, Christmas lunches, and arguing with Health and Safety about the fire risk of the red tinsel framing your computer monitor. It’s an entirely different matter for writers. Working in our isolated garrets means the office…

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How To See New Readers For Old Ideas

How To See New Readers For Old Ideas

As part of the Shrewsbury Literary Festival, one of the The Guardian’s regular contributors to the Country Diary series, Paul Evans, spoke about his new book: . He explained how the publishers, Batsford Books, were keen to re-vist some of their earlier published works with a view to updating them for a new, modern readership.

The Business of Retreating

The Business of Retreating

Last weekend I retreated. It’s an annual thing with the writers’ group I go to. Three or four nights, somewhere cheap (well, we are writers!), which is usually in Wales, and an opportunity to immerse ourselves in one or two of our current writing projects. It’s always interesting watching how other writers work. Whenever we go anywhere new, the sense of exploration overwhelms us. Then there are the midnight walks to beaches, and the evening social gatherings. But at some…

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Do We Really Need MS Word?

Do We Really Need MS Word?

When it comes to the business of writing, one of the most important tools is the software we use to collect our words and thoughts and put them into some sort of order. For years, this has been Microsoft Word, and its .doc and .docx file types are the industry standard when it comes to submitting to publishers. So I was interested to read this post on the Guardian’s website, about how Word is losing its shine, even in large…

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Writing Naked

Writing Naked

Have you ever written naked? No, I’m not talking about those times when you can’t being bothered to get dressed in the morning (although, perhaps that might influence what you write). Instead, I’m talking about being free to write what you want to write. SJ (Sarah) Banham has just published a book of writing prompts, which she’s called Writing Naked, that are designed to undress writers from the fashionable constraints we sometimes put ourselves under, if not the constraints of…

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POP Implications

POP Implications

Getting published is one thing, but getting paid can be an entirely different matter. Historically, many magazines have paid for items on publication. So if you write an article for the August issue of a magazine (back in March, and submit it in April) you will be paid for it in August. Some magazines pay 30 days after publication, which could mean payment may not arrive until September. There’s a growing trend for newspapers to do this, which is causing…

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Smile for the Camera!

Smile for the Camera!

If you’ve read my Business of Writing column in Writing Magazine (and I hope you have), you’ll know that from time to time I chat to other writers to gather their thoughts and expertise on a subject. Right from the start of the column (and for those of you who are counting, I’m just putting the finishing touches to the 52nd article), the editor asked me to obtain head-and-shoulder photos of the writers from whom I obtained quotes. (Perhaps he…

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Writing Can Seriously Damage Your Health

Writing Can Seriously Damage Your Health

Writing Can Seriously Damage Your Health Yes. Writing can seriously damage your health. And it doesn’t take long. Hunched up over a keyboard all day, or staring at a computer screen for hours on end (without blinking) can have some devastating consequences. And then there’s the diet. The constant grazing (usually chocolate) and the copious amounts of tea, coffee or wine. No wonder Jane Wenham-Jones spoke of Writer’s Bottom in her book

Book Journals

Book Journals

There’s a technique for book writers (both fiction and non-fiction) called book journalling. David Hewson calls it a book diary in his . The idea is simple: any thoughts relating to your book are entered into one journal for that book. That could be a physical notebook, or it could be a file on your computer. (I create a file in my Research folder in Scrivener.)

Real Writers Ship

Real Writers Ship

One of the most common resolutions writers make is: to write more. Actually, if you’re seeking publication, a better resolution would be: to submit more, or  to ship more. It’s easy to seek perfection. (Attaining it is another matter.) However, that search for perfection meets the resolution of doing more writing. But does it actually achieve anything?

Scrivener 3

Scrivener 3

Many of you will know that I’m a fan of the Scrivener software. I use it for all of my writing (articles, short stories, novels, non-fiction books and even for recording my pitches). Last week saw the launch of the updated version (for Apple Macs). Scrivener 3 is an amazing piece of software, although regular users will spot many changes. Some of the tool options have changed locations. To help with this, Gwen Hernandez, author of , has produced a…

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Don’t Be Afraid of Moving On

Don’t Be Afraid of Moving On

Last week I read a blog post from Frances Garrood (http://francesgarrood.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/farewell-womags_15.html) about her decision to stop writing short stories. It was a short, interesting piece about how she’d arrived at this decision. And it struck me that, when it comes to the business of writing, sometimes you need to accept that it’s time to move on. There are many reasons why a writer stops writing in a particular genre or for a specific market. Frances wrote about how she used…

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Vlad the Self-Published

Vlad the Self-Published

Last week’s post (What To Do With My Business After I’m Dead) looked at a book that fellow Writing Magazine columnist Tarja Moles has published. This week, another fellow Writing Magazine columnist, Lorraine Mace, explains why she’s bitten the bullet and self-published her children’ novel, even though it was something she swore she’d never do. “ was the first book I wrote,” Lorraine explains, “and so it has always had a special place in my heart. In 2007 I was…

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Have You Got It Covered?

Have You Got It Covered?

 Covers. They are hugely important but, generally-speaking, not where a writer’s skills lie. Yes, we often know what we like, but that doesn’t mean to say we have the right ideas. Nor does it mean we shouldn’t think about them. If you write a book that is traditionally published, then your contract will usually contain a clause stating that you will be consulted on the cover. That does not mean you will have the final say. Far from it. It…

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