The journaling journey: writing for life?

Being a former copywriter whose words were driven purely by the client’s marketing needs, telling me to journal – write down whatever comes into my head – would have given me writer’s agoraphobia bad enough to make me lock myself in the ladies’ room.

It makes my mind hop back a good few years to the first day at art school when our copywriting lecturer boomed out “anyone who has their own writing voice can leave the room now.” No free-flowing journaling for us, then.

Writing and journaling

Probably the most famous journal of all in the last century: the diary of Anne Frank in WWII. Could journaling have helped her get through her terrible nightmare? It may have: we can only hope it did.

At a business networking event the other day I asked everyone what they’d like me to write about this time and several voices piped up: journaling. Although of course I had read about it in Ali Moore’s excellent book, “Reconnect Your Life,” another bell started ringing.

Wait a minute … there’s something familiar about this journaling

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Grand National special: writing into (and out of) the Jeremy Vine Show…

I will never be asked on to the BBC (UK) radio programme, “The Jeremy Vine Show,” again.

Grand National article on How To Write Better 2019

My kind of Grand National … where the fences are a little smaller. And so are the “horses…”

Note to non-Brits: Jeremy Vine is a perfectly nice guy who does a great radio show here in the UK. He is also one of the patrons of a local charity I support here in my home town of Milton Keynes, England, called Ride High. So he’s an extra-nice guy.

Once upon a time Jeremy’s researchers thought they’d found the perfect cannon fodder: me

This was because I had written an article on the Grand National Horse race (the 2019 version of which takes place today near Liverpool, England) about the high number of equine casualties arising during the race where horses were maimed and sometimes killed. In 2011, in particular, there was really high casualty rate and coming up to the 2012 race, I let rip. (See below for the actual article I wrote.)

Ring… ring…how to terrify an interviewee so creating some real radio entertainment!!!

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Punctuation: praise it or punch it on the nose?

Are you a slave to proper punctuation? Or is punctuation a slave to you?

Being a pro writer and author and all that, I have given dozens (literally) of traditional editors self-induced alopaecia after reading my book manuscripts. Why? Because I don’t stick to punctuation rules.

Article on punctuation

Punctuation rules: should they be relaxed? Now there’s a puzzle

Being a North American, too, I use punctuation that spans the Atlantic giving the grammar police on both shores the desire to stab me with a red pencil.

And you know what? I don’t care.

Don’t forget that I am a former copywriter, and copywriters are notorious for flipping the bird at conventional grammar, punctuation and even syntax sometimes in order to create an effect.

Ridiculously bad punctuation: not what we’re talking about

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Stamping out essay writing cheats for students: some hope at last

Some of you may have noticed that I have been ranting for some time about essay (plus thesis, dissertation etc.) writing offered online so students can pay someone else to write their work – cheating.

Hellping university students to cheat

Essay mills to help students cheat: approx 250 million on Google alone

Finally here in the UK someone has taken notice of this easy rip-off for cheating students and is hoping to do something about it. To quote the BBC news website’s headline:

PayPal urged to block essay firm cheats

Will shaking a stick at PayPal deliver any real results? Not in isolation, no. But with luck, it’s a start. [Read more…]

Some harsh-but-true words about “bestselling books”

Please welcome back my wonderful, straight-talking friend and colleague from Toronto, Tsufit – who has some startling and true words to say about “bestselling authors,” as I have on more than one occasion. Because it’s so easy to manipulate the system with online book sales, the perceived value of being a bestselling author is shrinking by the day. Over to Tsufit

photo of Tsufit

“Put a brick between 2 covers, add endorsements & great title; it’ll sell.” Tsufit

“You can take a BRICK, slap it between a provocative front and back cover with a great title, add some strong endorsements and your book will sell.”

That’s exactly what I told the participants in my Book Creation Workshop the first time I ran it a few years ago.

It’s certainly not something I recommend or teach. Write a cool book! [Read more…]

Is it wrong to say “write to me?” The terrible telephone

You’re right in the middle of doing something that needs your full attention. You’re concentrating hard, just about getting to grips with it. You can see the A-HA moment ahead of you. The light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to wink at you. You reach out and almost touch it. Nearly there…

Then the phone rings. You answer.

why phone calls are disruptive

Miraculously the whizz-bang device of the 19th century, called the “telephone,” is still here with little other than the back-office technology having changed much.

“Hi Suze, it’s XXXXX. I was just having a read through of your YYYYY book and I’m not sure what you meant by your sentence about blog abstracts on page 178. Can you tell me more about it?”

Meltdown.

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