Writing process

How to give feedback on someone else’s writing

Helpful criticism is one of the best ways of improving someone’s writing, but how to be critical without offending? The answer for some is not to give feedback at all, which is a lost opportunity for the writer. We all tend to feel that our writing represents us and are easily wounded by someone taking […]

Write fast and badly

If writers produce good copy, whether for a book, an article or a website, it’s probably because they spend more time editing and polishing their draft, and less time writing it. A draft should be written quickly, as fast as possible. It needn’t be very good; in fact it shouldn’t be. If you try to […]

Epic writing and reading

Did you hear the late Seamus Heaney’s reading of Beowulf on Radio 4? It sounded wonderful. I only vaguely followed the story, but that didn’t matter. It was still lovely to listen to and made me want to read it. Epics and sagas were meant to be listened to. Most weren’t written down until much […]

Good and bad interviews

After two days at the Hay Festival of Literature, I found myself thinking about the difference in quality of the interviewers of the authors. The format is for each author to be interviewed by another writer, who then invites questions from the audience and chairs the discussion. One interviewer I thought very good and another […]

To write well, play to your strengths

Do you think of yourself as a bad writer? When I was at school I certainly thought I would never earn my living by writing. But here’s some encouragement from a writing coach whose newsletters I enjoy, Daphne Gray-Grant. In a recent blog post, Daphne points out that writing involves many skills, not just one. […]