Bird Brain picture

Why I’ll Probably Never Stop Playing Deadline Chicken

Failing to start work well before the deadline is down to sheer laziness, right? Wrong, says an article in Wired magazine. Here’s why I think this idea has significance for writers. Several years ago, I wrote a chapter in a textbook about supporting student writing. I pitched my idea to the editor in plenty of time […]

Too Much Information Graphic

Too Much Information! How to Find Quality Information Online

Not so long ago if you were writing an essay or doing research there were only books and journals, and looking for information often entailed a trip to the library. Today, with a smartphone and internet access, you can look up anything, almost anywhere. There’s an enormous amount of information on every conceivable topic that […]

Walking IS Thinking: The Real Reason Walk to Work Week Probably Improved Your Performance

Today, like most days, I have a series of tight deadlines. You probably do, too, so you’re either reading this blog to get help or as a displacement activity. Welcome! Writing is a physically demanding job. Stop laughing at the back: I’m serious. I spend a whole lot of time sitting at my desk, which, […]

A portrait of the youthful Virginia Woolf

Does One Need a Room of One’s Own In Order to Write?

A surprising number of writers today still stand by Virginia Woolf’s assertion that women (and men, for that matter) need plenty of time, head space and freedom from the daily grind in order to write well. I disagree. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not knocking those things. If you can arrange to have them in […]

William Morris and Writing as a Craft

It’s bank holiday again, so I’ve got that off-duty feeling: I’ve even been getting away from my desk (which is why this post is a bit late). Yesterday I went on a mini adventure to the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. My knowledge of Morris was sketchy before this visit, although I did previously know […]

Perfect Procrastination through Research

We writers know that research is one of the real three rs, don’t we? It’s the foundation of everything we do. Therefore, you have to take it seriously and do all your research up front before you start writing. Because you can’t start writing if you don’t understand your subject. Alas, no. If you happen […]

Three Steps To Getting Good, Usable Feedback On Writing

Welcome to part two of my short series on reader feedback for writers (not sure if you’re a writer? Look here to find out). Last week I outlined my reasons for not listening to the feedback offered by just any old body. Today we’ll go through the necessary—if not sufficient—steps you’ll need to take in […]

Just Because It’s Hurting Doesn’t Mean It’s Working: Why You Should Largely Ignore Reader Feedback

Tell people you’re writing something and it brings out their inner critic. They’ll queue up to give you their unsolicited opinion. Even perfectly benign souls find it hard not to rip your work to the kind of shreds which wouldn’t be out of place on a pulled pork sandwich. Faced with these acts of savagery, […]

The Pen is Mightier than the Word Processor

It may be Bank Holiday Monday, but I’m still thinking of writing (and if you’re here on the day itself, I’m guessing you are, too). Today I’m thinking about how much I love writing with real pens and pencils on real, physical paper. And as you might expect from one with analogue sensibilities, I have […]