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Generating Ideas For Articles

March 19th, 2021

First, thanks to Prachi for last week’s blog. As she points out, the internet is awash with people writing and trying to get that writing noticed, so it’s essential that you approach it in the right frame of mind if you want people to find and read your work.

Moving on, I’ve just been undertaking my annual ‘health check’ on our Comprehensive Creative Writing Course to keep it up to date.  I’ve always been particularly impressed by the advice given in Module 4 about how to generate ideas for articles. But, I suddenly realised that as we reach the anniversary of the first lockdown, it’s probably been very difficult for people to follow our advice, as we haven’t been able to get out, visit places, go to libraries and museums or interview people.

We’ve all had to lead a relatively ‘digital’ life and I suspect that this has had both its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s have a quick look at some of adjustments we’ve had to make: Read the rest of this entry »




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Why Writers Should Be Photographers

January 15th, 2021

I sold a 1200-word article to an American magazine for £200. They also used six of my photographs, for which they paid me an additional £600. So, which would you rather be: the writer who gets £200 or the writer/photographer who gets £800?

I will always remember the day I met the editor of a local county magazine who told me that her biggest problem was finding photographs.

“My dream supplier is someone who can provide the words and pictures. Every page in my magazine needs a words-and-picture package because every page is illustrated with photos. If a writer sends me an article I want to use, but it doesn’t have any photos, I then have to spend time trying to find suitable images. At particularly busy times, if I have a page to fill and I have a choice between a well-written article without pictures or a good article that needs some editing but comes with photographs, I will always go with the good article with pictures. As an editor, my skill is editing text. I can edit a good article into a great article in a couple of minutes. Finding the right photographs can take two or three hours.” Read the rest of this entry »




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Thinking Outside The Box

December 12th, 2020

Between 2003 and 2018 I made a living as a freelance writer, musician and historian. Prior to this I had been in charge of a secondary school history department for over 30 years. I ‘retired’ at 70 in 2018 but the Covid crisis of 2020 led to a reversal in my retirement plans and it was back to work to preserve sanity in lockdown. I also decided to organise properly the work I’d had published when I needed to make money as a freelance. At the time I had stored and catalogued them simply in date order. The new system has enabled me to share with you how I went about making part of my living through freelance writing.

When I started freelancing in 2003 I had already published a number of academic and popular articles on family history and the history of traditional music, song and dance. I joined The Writers Bureau in order to seek advice on how to structure my proposed career. The advice given then proved both helpful and fruitful. Read the rest of this entry »




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Could You Be A Travel Writer?

October 2nd, 2020

Travel writing is one of the most coveted departments on a magazine and speak to many freelancers and they’ll tell you that this niche market can be the most difficult to break into, but it needn’t be.

There’s a need for a travel article in almost every magazine on the market, all you have to do is look for the opening. Imagine there’s a popular fishing destination that you are aware of, now look for something nearby, maybe a museum, an antique fair or a church with an interesting history, and you have the makings of a travel article: Family fun while the fisher fishes. How’s that for your tagline?

I’ve been fortunate enough to work as a travel and features writer for an Italian magazine and it all stemmed from one of the modules on my Writers Bureau course. For my course work I spotted a new angle for a travel piece and submitted it. My tutor gave me positive feedback and advice and so I rewrote the article and sent it to an editor and it was accepted. Some may say I was lucky, but I don’t believe in luck in this marketplace. If you write what will interest an editor, it’ll be accepted. The article can be found here: https://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/take-faith-break-lanciano Read the rest of this entry »




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World Book Day Comes Round Again

February 14th, 2020

First, thanks to Jim for last week’s blog. He’s absolutely right about flash fiction being a wonderful medium for making you concentrate on your writing and then edit it until the only words and ideas left are the ones that form the core of your story and move it forward.

March 5th is World Book Day. Thanks to National Book Tokens and lots of lovely book publishers and booksellers, World Book Day, in partnership with schools all over the country, will be distributing more than 15 million £1 World Book Day book tokens to children and young people (that’s almost one for every child/young person under 18 in the UK and Ireland). They’ll be able to exchange these for any of the 15 free books available at local participating bookshops or they’ll be able to put the £1 towards any full price book or e-book of their choice costing more than £2.99. Read the rest of this entry »




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