Gender pronouns: let’s start writing solutions

Once again the issue of non-binary pronouns has been highlighted with the recent declaration of pop star Sam Smith asking followers to drop the he/him and write/speak about ‘them’ and its derivatives.

An understandable and increasingly important issue we, in the writing world, need to contend with. But…

New pronouns

It’s evident that we need new thinking about gender and how we write about it. Here are a couple of ideas to get us started. Please join in and share your views!

Is the new shift already working?

[Read more…]

Has Elvis left the building, in a book?

If you ever have had a book proposal turned down by publishers (and haven’t we all?) you’ll identify with excerpts from this online conversation online I had recently with an author whose feelings of dreadful frustration stormed out of every one of his words: see below…

article about Elvis Presley

You have something new and interesting to say about Elvis (or another celebrity, cause or concern) in a book. Here are some thoughts on how to get that book out there and selling even if you’re not a well-known author or personality.

ELVIS FANS – I wrote an interesting book about Elvis – publishers think there isn’t a platform for ELVIS???

Looking for a publisher – here’s one critique:

“Thanks for thinking of me for this. I’ve read and talked this over with some colleagues who also handle music books. While (name of author) has a really interesting perspective, we feel pretty strongly that the market for Elvis books is so crowded that a new one would need to come from someone with a bigger platform or access than (name of author) has here. Best of luck placing this great project!”

NO ONE HAS THIS PERSPECTIVE!!!  It’s a good book! Publishing business is CRAZY!!!!  Still millions of fans worldwide. [Read more…]

Please welcome ReaderReady writing. (This time around.)

ReaderReady? Yes, I just coined that word. It means the same as most of the terms and descriptions mentioned below going back to about the 1950s or so. So why is it new?

conversations in slaes

In both business writing and sales, success now lies in conversations – not presentations.

Short answer? It isn’t. But along with every new incarnation of the concept, we get the accompanying yee-hahs and whizzing bow ties assuring us that this is how we should be writing our books, online content, blogs, ad copy, and everything else down to the note you stick on your front door asking the delivery people to leave your stuff around the back. [Read more…]

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

[Read more…]

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!!!

[Read more…]

What I’d like to have written to my dying friend

This past weekend I followed my own advice about writing to someone who is dying, and knows it.

He is C., a friend from my youth who, in his early sixties now, has contracted an incredibly rare disease: approximately 2 in 1 million people get it. It is incurable and fatal within months of diagnosis.

writing to a friend who is dying

When someone is dying, all they have left is memories.

It is vicious, evil, and the most cruel part is that the conscious brain is the last bit to go when everything else has given up. Victims can track their own decline almost to the end.

Only a couple of weeks post-diagnosis he no longer can work his laptop or read his emails. His son contacted all our old group of friends to say his dad is still OK mentally so if we wanted to share our thoughts, we had to do it now, via emails. He will be reading them to him.

C. only has weeks to live and can’t have visitors other than immediate family. What could I possibly write to him? [Read more…]

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