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Category: Productivity

Bigger Windows

Bigger Windows

Bigger windows? No. I’m not talking about a new Microsoft Operating System. Instead, I’m talking about broadening your window of topicality. Topicality is important. Write something well in advance, with a topical hook aimed squarely at a publication’s readership and, if the editor likes it, it could be used in that topical-dated issue.

Dear Journal …

Dear Journal …

 We’ve slipped into June and already people are thinking Where’s the year going? Time seems to be flying by and I haven’t done achieved anything yet! It’s not helped by the fact that, here in the northern hemisphere, in a couple of weeks, the nights start drawing in. (The countdown to Christmas has begun!) I, though, can simply flick back through the pages of my journal for this year to remind myself of what I’ve been doing with my time….

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A Writer’s Repair Cafe

A Writer’s Repair Cafe

Last weekend I was in Bewdley, Worcestershire, finding out about the Repair Cafe they have there (for an article). Repair Cafes are a worldwide scheme, originating from one location in Holland in 2008 and exploding into over 1200 locations worldwide today. The idea is simple: instead of throwing something away when it is broken and buying a brand new replacement, see if you can get it repaired. Their success rate is high. When Bewdley’s Repair Cafe first opened its door…

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Run Out Of Things To Say?

Run Out Of Things To Say?

I’m in the process of judging a couple of competitions at the moment, and there’s one observation that’s really standing out to me: Entries way under the maximum word count. All competitions set a maximum word count. Entries that exceed this are disqualified. I’ve seen a few competitions that also have a minimum word count: but not many. I don’t feel comfortable setting a minimum word count, because if you’ve got something to say, and you can say it successfully…

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Contacts

Contacts

It’s all change at The People’s Friend today when they move in their new offices in Albert Square (which just so happen to be their old offices too). Make sure you update your contact address book with the relevant details.

Titivating Too Far

Titivating Too Far

Perfection. Whenever we create something, we want it to be good. No. We want it to be great. Well, let’s face it, if other people are going to read our creative words, we really want them to be perfect! And quite right too. But don’t let perfection hold you back. A story that is often raised in writers’ groups is that of the perfection of editing, when a writer once reportedly said:

Experience: Ninety Years On

Experience: Ninety Years On

  Ninety years ago, in April 1927, a new publication hit the newsstands: The Countryman. Buy a copy of the April 2017 issue (out now) and you’ll find it comes with a facsimile copy of that first 1927 issue. Inside this, there’s a request from the editor, which says:

Do You … Evernote?

Do You … Evernote?

As writers, we’re constantly collecting ideas, undertaking research, and filing useful website addresses for future use. What we need is a big bucket. However, no matter how big your bucket is, we need to be able to get stuff out again for it to be of any use. My bucket is Evernote (https://evernote.com), which I’ve been using for more than a year now. It allows users to create notebooks, and put as many sheets, or notes, inside each of those…

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Crystal Clear

Crystal Clear

Making A Point: The Pernickety Story of English Punctuation, by David Crystal Crystal clear: thats what the rules of punctuation are not. But David Crystal’s journey through the history of punctuation is, and this guide not only clarifies when is the right time to use a specific punctuation mark but it also explains the history of how these marks came into existence. It also clarifies why confusion reigns about usage. Do you remember being taught that you used a comma…

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Creative Equilibrium

Creative Equilibrium

I’ve just come back from a week’s break in the Lake District, and now I’m raring to go (which is good, because I’ve lots to do). But it reminded me of a comment I heard in a podcast by author Joanna Penn, who spoke about Creative Equilibrium. The idea behind it is a simple one: balance.

The Geology of Writing

The Geology of Writing

What’s writing got to do with geology? Well, it’s all to do with prioritisation and focus. I did this as an exercise, last week, at one of the writers’ groups I go to, and it’s a great way of showing how important it is having your writing projects correctly prioritised. First you have time, represented by this jar:

Products

Products

Two weeks ago I mentioned that the follow up to my short story collection (Ten Teatime Tales) was in production, now that some of the stories I wanted to include in it are now out of their exclusivity period. Well, I’m pleased to say that Ten Teatime Tales 2 (it took me months to come up with that title) is now available. (Just in time for all of those new electronic reading devices that will be unwrapped in a couple of weeks…

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Curveballs

Curveballs

Sometimes, things don’t always go to plan. Last week, having been on a press trip for a magazine on the Saturday, I had planned on spending the week writing up my notes and transcribing the audio interview, as well as processing the photos and creating the first draft of the article. But that’s not quite how things panned out … My left eye didn’t feel quite right on Monday morning, so I saw my GP. He referred me to an…

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OctoWriMo?

OctoWriMo?

Has anyone signed up for NaNoWriMo yet (National Novel Writing Month)? For those of you who don’t know, this is where writers set themselves the challenge of writing 50,000 words of their novel during the month of November. (That’s an average of 1,667 words a day.) If you’re not used to writing big projects, this can be a great way to get started. Your aim is just to get 50,000 words written. They don’t have to be great words. They’re not perfect…

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