Account Login

Blog Archives

Read yourself as a stranger

Remember your reading voice, how you sound when you read your own work aloud (assuming that you read aloud as a test of your tone, meter and rhythm)? Well, that is your comfort zone, the place where you create and revise with a degree of tension, agony and exhilaration. You know when you are there. You can feel it, a certain quickening of the pulse and shallowness of breaths that keeps you at your desk. And it is a place where you forget time so that if you check a clock you are surprised by how fast the last hour passed by.

Now do the opposite of that comfortable rigour (not rigor mortis). Read yourself as a stranger. You do not know any of the above. Negate it as a deliberate act. This means you put the poem or prose into a strange font (goodbye Times New Roman and the tyranny of comfort thereof), take your name off it (welcome nameless selves) and read it as if someone else wrote it. The act of reading numerous personas as a stranger opens a critical space in you which allows you to be ruthless with the piece of life before your eyes in ways that provenance of authorship prevents you from doing by making you protective of the work.

Find out more

Do a THAT return

Back in the mists of time, when I was working on my very first novel, I received my…

Find out more

Permission not to write

When you’re a writer – particularly when you start to make money from your writing – it can…

Find out more

Live your subject

Non-fiction writers live their books before they write them. From biography to travel to books about music, art…

Find out more

Can you show, rather than tell?

One of the most popular radio devices is the narrative voice, inside the head. Usually given to the…

Find out more

Improve your writing through cutting back

If you don’t know how to begin to improve your writing through cutting back, you might like to…

Find out more

The importance of rewriting

For many writers, the pleasure of writing comes in rewriting. It is not everyone’s favourite aspect of writing,…

Find out more

Find the shape of your story

Pick up one of the books you really like – it doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction….

Find out more

Shaping the flow of writing

This is very odd, but when it comes to non-fiction I like drawing little pictures of the inner…

Find out more

Read As If Your Life Depended On It

In What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics the great American poet Adrienne Rich says “You…

Find out more

Reconsider the mundane

Think of a hobby or passion you have, outside of writing and literature. So perhaps baking, or dancing,…

Find out more

Rupture the mundane

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but having the perfect thing to write about isn’t actually enough;…

Find out more

Archive

This website uses cookies to give you the best experience. Agree by clicking the 'Accept' button.