Category Archives: Writing

City Tales, and Hive

Since 2004, Oxford University Press has been publishing volumes of City Tales, collections of short stories set in European cities translated into English. The guiding idea is to give the English-speaking reading traveller (I paraphrase): Stories expertly translated by writers with an … Continue reading

Posted in Bookshops, Fiction, Places, reading, Reviews, Storytelling, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment

Janet Clare on getting published later on, and Vice’s Broadly.

I’ve been meaning to read this article by an older writer about starting to write later in life and how, after a very long writing journey and the discovery that every writer makes at some point, that all writing is … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Cyberspace, Fiction, Internet, Psychology, reading, Rewriting, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Women, Writers, Writing, Writing Courses | Leave a comment

Comfort Zones, and Client Earth

The other day, in Chichester, I found and bought a book. This is a (very) common thing in my life (although it usually happens in London) but I bought this book in Jigsaw which isn’t a bookshop. Copies were sitting on … Continue reading

Posted in Bookshops, Climate Change, Design, Fiction, Things that don't fit anywhere else, Women, Writers, Writing | 1 Comment

Anne Lamott’s Twelve True Things; and Human Libraries

Anne Lamott, whose Bird by Bird helped me immeasurably when I was writing my first novel, Speaking of Love (I was stuck, didn’t know what to write or how, but Lamott’s Bird by Bird dispelled my despair, took my hand and … Continue reading

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Diana Athill, and The Astrology Book Club

Diana Athill (1917-2019 – she died on 23 January) was an editor extraordinary, a novelist and a memoirist. She was also one very wise woman. In her book, Somewhere Towards the End, she wrote: What dies is not a life’s value, … Continue reading

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Make Good Art, a resolution for the new year

In January 2016, I quoted Neil Gaiman’s wonderful advice which is, essentially, whatever you’re doing, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry … Continue reading

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Jericho Writers’ Self-Editing Your Novel Course, and the wonders of Atlas Obscura: destinations, food and drink

I’m in the final week of Jericho Writers’ Self-Editing your novel course run by Debi Alper and Emma Darwin and all I can say is if you’ve written a first (or even a twenty-first) draft of a novel and you know something’s … Continue reading

Posted in Drink, Fiction, Food, Places, Rewriting, Storytelling, Third Novel, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Courses | Comments Off on Jericho Writers’ Self-Editing Your Novel Course, and the wonders of Atlas Obscura: destinations, food and drink

Creativity and Patience; and walks with Mental Health Mates

Being an artist means … ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms … summer [will] come. But it comes only to the patient … patience is everything! from Rainer Maria Rilke’s advice to Franz Xaver … Continue reading

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Literary Villains, Literary Summer Reads and an idyllic treehouse in East Sussex (where you can stay)

Forty of the Best Villains in Literature appear in this article at The Literary Hub (where you’ll find many literary goodies). The villains include the obvious: Mr Hyde, Mrs Danvers, Uriah Heep, Mr Rochester, Dr Frankenstein, Hannibal Lecter and many more. But … Continue reading

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Women writers, and children; and Retro Peepers

I’ve never had children and the reason (apart from meeting the man whose children I’d love to have had well beyond my fertile years) is that I was always afraid that looking after children would eat so far into my … Continue reading

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John Clare, gardener and writer; and Bloom & Wild

In this strange spring and early summer of ours, where March’s snow, frost and ice stopped all plant growth and May’s hot days and tropical rainstorms encouraged it wildly, I’ve been wondering how many writers worked as gardeners. I only found … Continue reading

Posted in Artists, Fiction, Gardening, Mental Health in Fiction, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on John Clare, gardener and writer; and Bloom & Wild

Writers on writing, and an exquisitely beautiful tea

When our writers’ group met this week one of our number described how the rise of the ‘plotting and typing’ approach to writing was driving her demented. How all the work is done before you’ve typed a word and then you … Continue reading

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Social media and the writer; Modigliani and Akhmatova

It’s wise for writers to have a social media presence these days. Publishers don’t exactly insist on it, but they like writers who have significant followings. (Followers equal interest in the writer and so potential sales, obviously.) But how does … Continue reading

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A new writing resolution; and a new (to me) altruistic way of advertising

I’ve made a new writing resolution: I will not allow the confusing complexity, the sheer size and the constantly changing, shifting nature of a novel’s first draft to eclipse the excitement I felt when its guiding idea first electrified me. I. Will. Not. … Continue reading

Posted in Baby Boomers, Creativity, Fiction, Millenials, Psychology, Rewriting, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Uncategorized, Writing | Comments Off on A new writing resolution; and a new (to me) altruistic way of advertising

Chaos & Creativity; and Beautiful Bookshops

I dislike hate chaos. Very much. Who doesn’t? But it’s an essential state if you want to write fiction. Messiness of the mind is the sine qua non for writers. But, when a piece is finished, it looks so orderly that … Continue reading

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Rejection is a rite of passage for writers, and the Raw Chocolate Company

One of the things that a writer takes a while truly to believe (it’s taken me a while) is that rejection is part of the process: it’s necessary, inevitable and makes our work better. It’s a rite of passage.But the … Continue reading

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Blurt It Out and Instead of a Card

I’m submitting the manuscript of my third novel to literary agents. It’s a process that requires much patience, a certain amount of luck and, most importantly, the ability to pitch my work well to the right agent at the right … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Fiction, Mental Health in Fiction, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Third Novel, Writing | 2 Comments

Words on Writing, and Pass on a Poem

There are hundreds of thousands of words written about writing fiction: how to write, why we write, what to do when we can’t write and on and on so that, sometimes, I feel as if I’m adrift on a sea … Continue reading

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Auditioning to become a WI Speaker, and ‘Born Baffled: Musings on a Writing Life’

In March I auditioned to become a WI speaker. The WI, you say? Don’t they just make jam, sing Jerusalem and talk a lot? Yes to all three, but no to JUST. There are 6,300 WIs in this country with 220,000 members … Continue reading

Posted in Psychology, Talks, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Titanic, Women, Writers, Writing | 3 Comments

Third novel, and the Reith Lectures, 2016

This month I finished my third novel. Finished to be interpreted loosely: there will be redrafts when I’m working with an agent and then with an editor. It’s working title is For the Love of Life. Rejoice. At least for now. … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Equality, Fiction, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Third Novel, Titanic, Writers, Writing | 2 Comments