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Engaging Learners Through Writing For Fun

October 19th, 2018

Most confident writers (I’m guessing the majority of people reading this) take these skills for granted. So it might surprise you that approximately one in five adults in the UK have less than functional literacy and struggle with tasks such as filling in forms, reading instructions or supplying correct information at the Doctors’.

Social Media often sees negative comments regarding spelling or misuse of English, with the implication that such mistakes suggest the writer is stupid and their opinions, therefore, of less value.  Poor spellers seem to be fair game. But in fact, the problem is seldom generated by stupidity but usually by interrupted schooling: elderly people removed from school to work or care for younger siblings, middle aged folk who were never identified as Dyslexic or had periods of absence due to illness, to teenagers who have dodged school or moved home frequently.  Of course, statistically speaking, there are strong links between other socio-economic factors and low literacy skills but affected people are not a ‘type’.  Sadly, more young people than ever are now leaving school with inadequate literacy skills. Read the rest of this entry »




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“Go West, Young Man”

October 12th, 2018

First, thanks to Lynn for last week’s blog. It’s always easy to imagine yourself as a professional writer, sitting at your desk with your ideas flowing through your fingertips. But you don’t always realise that if you want to earn your living from your writing you’ll have to do the boring admin as well as the creative bit. So, thanks for that timely reminder.

A few weeks ago, Colin Bulman wrote a piece which looked at how to write good openings for your stories, and one of the examples he used was True Grit by Charles Portis. That got me thinking.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d read a Western and wasn’t even sure if it was still a genre that appeared on bookshelves.  So I started doing some research and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Read the rest of this entry »




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Treating Your Writing As A Business

October 5th, 2018

I self-publish a cosy crime series featuring amateur sleuth Lord James Harrington. I’ve now released eight books in the series and, prior to releasing the first one, I asked myself an important question: Am I going to write professionally?

Regardless of whether I would be successful or not, the answer was: Yes.

Confucius said: Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.

What he didn’t say was that you’ve still got to do the paperwork!!

Most creative people hate the admin that goes with running a business. I am no different. But, if you’re serious about writing, you have to treat it as a business and that means doing the grotty tasks. Failure to do so could get you in a mess further down the line, especially if the royalties start coming in. Read the rest of this entry »




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Is Mentoring Right For You?

September 28th, 2018

First, thanks to Diane for last week’s post – it just shows how successful your writing career can be, even without an agent. But it also demonstrates how much hard work you have to be prepared to put in if you want to achieve your goals. It’s never going to be easy!

Many writers get to the point where they know they’re good, they’ve had a modicum of success but they are aware that they’re still ‘not quite there’. And it’s at this point that you might want to consider mentoring.  This involves working with a professional writer on a one-to-one basis with the focus completely on yourself and your work. This might sound selfish, but sometimes it’s the only way to go if you really want to take a step forward in your writing career. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Independent Route To A Book Deal

September 21st, 2018

It is almost twenty years since I enrolled with the Writers Bureau in 1999. Prior to that I hadn’t considered writing as a career option but the Writer’s Bureau gave me a great start. It taught me many valuable skills and gave me the confidence to pursue a writing career. During the course I found that novels were my preferred type of writing as well as my forte but it wasn’t until many years later that I eventually published.

My writing career began with magazine articles, mostly on parenting and places of interest. I then decided to set up a writing services business offering copywriting and proofreading services, and I utilised the skills gained on the course. In particular, the module on writing for trade magazines helped me with producing content for company websites. Read the rest of this entry »




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