Top Nine Writer’s Rules: #5 Block

Look at the first of these two rules, and you’ll see that nothing divides authorly opinion like writer’s block. Most of these insights are either self-pitying or briskly unsympathetic  –  successful writers seem to believe in tough love when dispensing advice – but there is one piece of caring practical advice. Surprisingly, that comes from […]

Top Nine Writer’s Rules #4: Research

Here’s a funny thing. Writers like to play down research. ‘Just live your life and use that as your material,’ seems to be the message. Even, ‘And don’t have too exciting a life while you’re at it.’ Here is a snapshot of the collective wisdom of writers considering this topic, with the number 10 rule […]

Some passing thoughts on…groping and the older man

The people’s philosopher, Alain de Botton, has been considering Rolf Harris and his wandering hands. In de Botton’s funny-yet-serious spoof of newspapers  The Philosophers’ Mail, he takes his customary rosy view of things. The Harris case and others like it, he argues, show that we are becoming kinder as a society. These are times of […]

Top Nine Writer’s Rules #3: Marriage

So far in this series of Top Nine Writer’s Rules, great and good authors have offered advice on matters which are fairly straightforward: starting a book, or how to get the inspiration to pick up the pen in the first place. That all changes this week. There seems little agreement as to the precise effect […]

Top Nine Writer’s Rules: #2: Inspiration

This the second of my Top Nine Writer’s Rules,  a series of blogs with which writers, would-be writers and readers will eventually be able to build their own rulebook for writing, based on the words of authors past and the present. Today’s theme answers a question familiar to any writer who has answered questions from […]

The Top Nine Writer’s Rules (the tenth is yours) #1. STARTING

 For many years, I have collected the thoughts and observations of writers about the process and the profession of writing. The authors can be dead or alive, famous or obscure, literary titans or contemporary crowd-pleasers. If they have something interesting, funny or perceptive to say about the strange business of creating in words, then I […]

Clean, lean, terrifically digital – welcome to the new me

The general consensus around here was that an image re-think was in order. The brand needed to be refreshed. And because a website can sometimes seem like a visible, external version of your professional  life, the best place to start was here, online. I have  a new website and with it (the master-plan) a new […]

The sexists of Sky TV: how the memories come flooding back

I should probably feel a twinge of sympathy for Andy Gray and Richard Keys, the two presenters of Sky football who have been heard making stupid, sexist comments about a woman linesman  –  after all, I used to play  football against them. Try as I might, though, I can’t think of two people I’m happier […]


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