You probably know good writing when you read it.
But could you explain what makes good writing good?
It’s a conundrum, isn’t it? Especially since what you think is “good writing” might be indecipherable trash to your best friend, who also happens to love the latest fiction bestseller.
You know… the one you thought had an unrealistic plot, with clunky dialogue spoken by flimsy characters you didn’t care about.
“Tell us, in 100 words or fewer, what the secret to good writing is.”
That directive had snuck in right at the end of a competition entry form I was recently…
When work people try to contact you outside of your ‘usual’ toiling hours, do you respond immediately, or do you let them wait until you’re back at your desk?
This is no longer a dilemma solely faced by freelancers. Work had already stolen life’s identity, wearing its clothes and assuming its mannerisms long before 2020 swaggered in and tore up the rule book.
Your mother’s your mother, that’s what they say
You won’t get another, so hug her each day
But what if your one kept going astray?
Instead of wholehearted motherly love
Life gave you a hefty shove
With healing hands hidden in gloves
“Don’t cause trouble,” whispers would plead
A gentle child, you paid innocent heed
You camouflaged every emotional need
“But… she’s your Mum!” others opined
When they saw you’d cut the ties that bind
Past with present, life redefined
Not everyone will understand
Your soul’s desire, its fiery demand
That you walk alone, your path…
If nothing else, life in lockdown has confirmed how much I need other people around.
You’d think this might be for hugs, deep conversation, and maybe chipping in with the odd bit of housework, but no.
I just need them to be their natural, flawed selves in my actual presence, because this confirms a) that they’re human, and b) so am I.
I’ve found that excessive alone-time leads to excessive self-criticism, because there are no breathing reminders that it’s OK to be in a shitty mood, or be a bit crap at something, or look like hell.
(It’s like when…
“Most people aren’t right about anything else in life, so why should they suddenly become omnipotent when they go shopping?” (Guy Browning)
What do you think of that famous phrase, “the customer is always right”?
To me, they’re hazy, utopian words that people only tend to use when they are a) the customer, or b) someone who doesn’t work up close and personally with their customers, every day.
Harry Selfridge, to whom the phrase is accredited, did not work behind the store counters himself. …
Generally speaking, good listeners are good at other things as well.
I was reminded of that as I read a recent article, entitled ‘A Hostage Negotiator’s Top Tips for Talking to Frustrated Teenagers.’
(That’s a great headline, isn’t it? I clicked straight away, even though I’m lucky enough not to have any frustrated teenagers around to talk to.)
Thinking about writing can feel a bit like thinking about that phone call you keep saying you’ll make.
You play the conversation out in your mind, and the person you’re calling turns out to be in an awkward mood, and they complain about everything, and they ask you questions you’re not sure how to answer, and the conversation takes a lot longer than you thought it was going to, and the whole thing is just a big mental drain, so you end up not calling today.
Maybe tomorrow, when you’ll have more time.
But what’s stopping you from making that…
“If you were to be cast away alone on a desert island, which eight gramophone records would you choose to have with you? Assuming, of course, that you had a gramophone and an inexhaustible supply of needles.”
This was the question that introduced the first episode of the classic, long-running BBC radio show, Desert Island Discs. It was broadcast on 27th January 1942, with comedian and actor Vic Oliver as the castaway.
His first choice was a classical piece — Chopin’s Étude №12 in C minor, if you must know — and there began the telling of thousands of fascinating…
…where you’ll discover the time, confidence, support, and ideas you need to write remarkable, personally open content
· Six guided weekly online sessions, to make writing a habit
· Only six places available, for maximum idea-sharing, support, and interaction
· You’ll tell us about and work on your chosen writing project every week, using each session to help you through any blocks, and receive specific guidance
· You’ll join a private Facebook group for extra support and to test ideas
· You’ll finish the course with the skills, confidence, support, and ideas you need to keep on writing
Did you have your ‘big creative idea’ in 2020?
If, like me, you didn’t, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d failed in some cataclysmic manner. Particularly when the most popular social-media instructions for Lockdown 1.0 were for us all to “pause and reflect,” and to “start something new”.
Apparently, a lot of us took the hint, with “55% per cent of people now more creative with their time than they were before lockdown…”
But what if you struggled?
What if you weren’t gifted a glittering wodge of spare time by the coronavirus, or your mind was so focused on…