Write What You Don’t Know

Writers are creatures of comfort, rituals and rhythms that we are loathe to break. There’s a fair logic behind many of these: getting stuck with writers’ block is a nightmarish hell, akin to having all your sinuses block up simultaneously while also being creatively constipated. These little tricks are our last defence against the dark. Continue reading

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How About a Novella?

Will it be published? Probably not, novellas are often considered too short. Will it make you the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King? Hard to say, if you’re extremely lucky, then perhaps. Though you might as well start playing the lottery if that’s your goal. What a novella will do is probably give you a sense of accomplishment. And hey, you can still refer to it as a “book”, so what if it’s a small one?

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You’re Not A Wizard, Harry: Demystifying Writing

The division between STEM and Art is often explained by something inherent, something natural, not nurtured. That some people have logical brains that can compute large amounts of data, and some people have artistic brains that output illogical, beautiful creations into the world. Some people are right-handed, some left; some people are scientists, some are artists. That it has nothing to do with want and everything to do with natural talent.

This idea is poisonous, not least in the fact that it grossly oversimplifies the human experience, but also in that it’s so wrong it stops us thriving in our chosen careers. Continue reading

Why Those Who Can, Teach

I must’ve been about eight when I planned my first ‘lesson’.

Lesson objectives were laboriously detailed in a little notebook. I would tinker around on whiteboards with mind-maps. The register was meticulously checked, even when the only ‘students’ in attendance were my stuffed animals (and thus the actual process of calling the register was rendered somewhat redundant). I was young, bright, and in love with learning – and more importantly, in love with teaching. Continue reading

Speaking Language

We must move beyond simple claims that writing ‘gives voice’, or is a form of ‘expression’. Language is both before and after the fact: it comes as retrospection and speculation. And its politicization runs deeper than mere content, the surface upon which many young writers roam and remain. We must look at the container that holds the water. Continue reading