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The Inner Critic

I was asked an excellent question at a day of teaching novel writing at the weekend.

To set the scene, I'll start this blog with a picture of the group...

library teaching day.jpg

... and say thank you to them for being so keen and talented, and the excellent new Exeter Library for hosting the day.

Anyway, the question was this - how do you deal with your inner critic?

It's something I've not been asked before, and took a few seconds thought before I came up with a response - which is to be honest.

... Read more

Sharing the Love

In a word - wow!

The spinning whirl of a buzzing melee that is the Winchester Writers' Festival only grows dizzier by the year. I got home last night, keen to note down what went well and what needed some attention with my teaching and...

... promptly crashed out and fell asleep. It was exhausing, but exhilarating too.

This morning, after a mammoth sleep, I've been reflecting what it is about such meetings of minds that is so delightful and uplifting.

Firstly, a quick thanks to the group I took on Sunday for the Crime Writing, from Start to Slaying... Read more

Teaching, Learning and Loving it

I'm lucky enough to have lots of teaching of this wonderful art of writing coming up in the summer, and I've spent a fair few weeks now trying to make the sessions as good as possible.

Which has lead me to a key question - what is the basis of teaching?

I've come to conclude it's much the same as in my day job, journalism - to anticipate the questions that people want answered, and, importantly...

... to try to do so in an entertaining way.

We've all sat in far too many classrooms and been bored numb by teaching... Read more

The Castle

I had an interesting experience this week, which goes to underline one of the main points I make when I'm teaching writing.

I needed to talk to a couple of agents about a new project I'm working on. I'd met some at the excellent Winchester Writers' Festival last year, so I sent them a quick email...

... and received a helpful reply that very morning.

What a difference I suspect that is from people who might approach an agent out of the blue with a submission. And it just reinforced my thoughts about The Castle.

A quick visual interlude here.... Read more

A Change of Scene

One of the questions I'm most often asked about writing is a simple but very important one - and happily, for once in life, I think there's an easy answer.

The question is - How do I find inspiration on those days when it's just not coming?

After a few seconds of reassurances that we all have those days - I think they go with the creative territory - I can usually provide a passable response.

It's a long and hard learned lesson, and it's this - when the words really are not coming, just walk away and do something... Read more