Tag: Lists

What I’ve learned from being traditionally published

To be clear: the point of this post is not to compare traditional publishing with self-publishing and declare one better than the other. Traditional publishing covers a range of types of experience anyway, from Big Five to small press. Likewise, self-publishing encompasses a wide and varied landscape which includes everything from independently putting out an ebook out via Amazon all the way through to 'selective' self-publishing, where the author works with a professional publishing house to edit, design, print and distribute their book, but underwrites part or all of the costs themselves. And of course, there are a range of models and different options in between. I haven't ever self-published a book, so don't have that experience to draw on. But I definitely wouldn't rule it out for the future, and I hope my experiences in traditional publishing would be helpful if I decided to try it. Meanwhile, having recently gone through…

I love grammar, but I don’t love the SATs

First up, a confession: I'm a total grammar nerd. I love semi colons; I get super-irritated when I see one misused. I revel in the difference between the past perfect and the past progressive. I know what a relative clause is, and I know how to punctuate one. So sue me. Grammar, as they say, is the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you're shit. You'd think a grammar nerd like me would be delighted by the additional emphasis on formal grammar in the new KS1 and KS2 SATs, wouldn't you? You'd think I'd be pleased that our nation's children are being taught to use apostrophes correctly. Believe me, I want everyone in the country to use apostrophes correctly. I really do. But this is not the way to achieve that particular utopia.   What's wrong with the new SATs? I hear you cry. Here's what's wrong:   1. There's no point learning…

Resolutions (and a writing to-do list) for 2016

On top of all the usual resolutions about being more present, less judgemental, and meditating every day, here are some resolutions for my writing life in 2016.   1. Work through the teetering pile of books beside my bed, books people gave me or told me I absolutely must read in 2015 and I never managed to, plus those I got super-excited about reading, but didn't. Oh, plus the twenty or so books I got for Christmas and for my birthday... At the moment I'm reading 'Sweet Caress' by William Boyd. Up next, I'm very excited to read 'Starlings' by Erinna Mettler and 'My Brilliant Friend' by Elena Ferrante.   2. And in the likely event I acquire a whole load of new books this year, I'm committing to buying them from independent bookshops or direct from the publishers rather than from certain (ahem) online suppliers which squeeze the margins of independent publishers…

8 things I learned through swimming (that help me as a writer)

1. Sometimes you'll improve quickly. Don't be fooled by this into thinking your some sort of genius and headed for the Olympics (or the Booker shortlist). 2. Sometimes you'll improve so slowly it appears you're not improving at all. Don't be fooled by this into thinking you should throw in the towel. 3. Swimming, like long hours hunched over a keyboard, will sometimes necessitate the services of a good chiropractor, or sports massage therapist.  Where would I be without John Pursglove at Henfield Chiropractic or Muscle Balance Sport and Remedial Massage Therapist Caroline Telfer? 4. Sometimes you need to count in units of four, sometimes in units of 25. Other times it makes more sense to count in 100s or even 1000s.  There are unfortunate occasions when you may have to count in 17s.  Whatever you count in, get your head down and get on with it, and it'll soon start to add up.…

9 quality podcasts you should definitely check out

Ah, radio, nothing to beat it.  Entertaining like telly, only less vacuous and more intimate.   Improving like reading, only easier, and you can manipulate graphics, check twitter, do admin, fold laundry, peel vegetables - whatever - at the same time as having all the lovely stories poured into your brain. Here are some of my favourite podcasts, in no particular order.  Links in the titles. 1. Shortcuts with Josie Long There's something about this podcast that feels like being tucked up in bed, under a super-comfy, warm duvet, with a big cup of tea, after a long hard day building something awkward, or else shifting something heavy, in the wind and the rain.  Like that, and also like there's this really nice friend to chat with you while you snuggle under the duvet and drink your tea.  Oh, and the friend has got biscuits. 2. Radiolab Any of my friends and relations who've ever wondered about my various…