I'm lucky enough to have been invited to teach at the wonderful Winchester and Swanwick Writing Summer Schools again this year.
As I've mentioned before, teaching is very much at the heart of the Hall, so I consider this a privilege and a delight.
But! I was starting to fret how I would make a decent job of Swanwick, where the poor folk have heard my musings more than a few times before.
I spoke to a friend about it, who said my previous sessions had worked well, and I could always fall back on them. Which was kind and comforting, but... no!
I just wasn't happy with that idea. Not for the people who came along, and might be bored, feel let down. Not for myself and my honour, as someone who takes teaching seriously.
And certainly not in the name of writing creativity!
For such a wonderful week, I told myself I could do better. Creativity is infinite, so I could darned well come up with some new teaching ideas.Read more
I've long been a great admirer of one of life's most glorious traits -
How something which feels like a disaster when it hits you, can turn out to be a triumph.
It happened to me last week. I was having a chat with my editor about a problem with my young adults book which we'd been working on for ages, and just hadn't managed to solve.
Everything I tried felt awkward, uncomfortable, didn't quite work.
And she dropped a bombshell. That one of the fundamentals of the book might be causing the problem.
Cue the usual melodramatic tailspin of wailing and rue from yours truly. Changing it would mean a basic re-angling and a big re-write. And could the book even work without it?
But I went away to think about it for a couple of days, doing my usual musing tricks...Read more
Whenever people tell me how lucky I am to be a writer, and what a great life it is, I'm always reminded of something my late mother would say.
When I used to go on about how much I loved it, and how very fulfilling writing was, she would ask...
"Yes, but when are you going to get a proper job?"
For years, I struggled to find a reply, but now... I think I finally have an answer!
This week, I had a delightful day at Exeter University, at their Creative Careers fair.
It was set up in response to students' complaints that careers advice at the uni focused far too much on the traditional avenues of law, accounting, medicine etc...Read more
Twists are so important in writing, and this week I enjoyed a wonderful encounter with the species myself.
It was all the better because the writer clearly didn't intend it - but it worked beautifully anyway.
I received an email from a school, asking me to give an assembly.
I'm fortunate enough to get a few of these, and I always try to help. Teaching and bringing on the younger generation of writers goes right to the heart of the Hall.
So, I scanned through the email, and there were the kind, but familiar words I'm often lucky enough to see written by a teacher, or the head -
'Fascinated by your career... think we could learn much from you, with your experience of journalism and writing...'
(Don't think me being big-headed - I'm setting the scene for the twist - honestly!)Read more