2021 Roundup

Another barmy year, eh? A year of obsessively watching trends and numbers and graphs, of living carefully and hopefully. A year of feeling that life was getting back to normal, until it wasn’t. Another year of losing friends. And of doing the only thing a creative person can do, get the head down and continue […]

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Resolution, it’s a mug’s game

At the beginning of the last couple of years I’ve done a sort of  “creative goals” post, and the one thing I’ve learned from the exercise is that, for the self-propelled creative type at least, planning is largely futile. Too often opportunities come your way that you couldn’t have foreseen and, if you have neither […]

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Read like a reader

I’ve been thinking for quite a while now about the difference in reading experience between readers and writers. To my mind, readers engage with a story in a pure way that eschews awareness of the mechanisms by which it is told and enables the imagination to properly bring the characters to life, to ride-shotgun on their […]

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Friday, 6pm, Munros on Great Western Road. Trying to balance the fizzing fatigue of stopping after a long period of intense work with sunshine and cold, sour half of Redwillow’s Wreckless pale ale. And, at the same time, straining at the leash. Most writers are not full time writers. We work to live and we scribble […]

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Moving on…

So yesterday was a good day. That’s an understatement. Days like that are the rewards for working hard, and reworking harder, and then doing it again. And again. And, as soon as the moment has passed, it’s time to get on with the work again. But before I get down to it my Saturday morning session […]

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I touched upon this a little in my Toronto post, but something that’s been running around my mind recently has been the value of inspiration. With the state of the book industry the way it is you might think writers would be tempted to play it safe and aim for writing the kinds of stories […]

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Turn, and look again

One of the best pieces of writing advice I know is to give yourself perspective on anything you write. Once it is finished, stick it away in a box for a week, a month, however long, and then go back and read it again with new eyes; as a reader would. This is wonderful advice […]

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Busyness and business

Bit of a hiatus here, but they happen from time to time, usually when I’m too busy to blog. And such is definitely the way right now. Remember a few months ago I made a list of all the creative stuff I’ve got going on at the moment? Well most of them are competing to […]

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Headers versus Hearters

*Scene: the classroom in the Peanuts cartoons. At the front, the ever-incoherent teacher. Facing her, a column of kids at desks: Lucy, Patty, Charlie B, and at the back, wearing a dunce hat, a bemused looking kid, slightly older than the rest, who we learn is called Neil. The deployment of dunce hats is not […]

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More on the muse

Reading back yesterday’s thoughts on Hal’s marvellous muse post, there’s the possibility that readers might see an implied criticism along the lines of  being too precious about one’s “art” when a professional writer should be more concerned with seeing to the requirements of one’s “business”**. Obviously, that’s not what I meant. Not at all. Every […]

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