Archives for journalism

How to get ahead: Kate Silverton

Kate Silverton “Your instinct and not your fears should be your guide – it’s too easy in a world that constantly feeds into our insecurities to be led by what we think we ought to do – rather than be true to what we really are.” [Kate Silverton, quote from ‘Grazia’ magazine January 18, 2010] So write what you want to write, the way you want to write it. Don’t be afraid to try something new: new genre, new point of view, new voice. Write poetry or a short story. Do you enjoy writing dialogue, why not attempt a play? What’s the best advice about writing you’ve ever been given? For BBC journalist Kate Silverton’s website, click here. Try these tips to get ahead:- Kate Turner Nicky Kinnaird Vivienne Westwood And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Follow your instinct, not your fears: advice from #journalist Kate Silverton http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1aP via @SandraDanby #amwriting
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Categories: On Writing.

Past, Present and Future

What did author Sandra Danby do before she wrote Ignoring Gravity? Book blogger A Woman’s Wisdom asks Sandra for her favourite memory from her early days as a journalist. “My editor called me in to tell me I was going on an overnighter to Paris for a press reception. I had never been to Paris. It was 1983. There was no Eurostar, no Channel Tunnel.” Read the interview in full by clicking here.   ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: What’s my favourite memory? #authorinterview by @bodiciasapple http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1w8 via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love, Book publicity and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

How to Get Ahead: Sarah Sands

Sarah Sands “I keep work and home entirely separate… Keep emotions out of the workplace. You should always be civil and considerate to your colleagues, as it’s not the place for emotional dramas and hurt feelings.” [Sarah Sands, quote from ‘Grazia’ magazine January 18, 2010] Journalist Sarah Sands was editor of the London Evening Standard newspaper. I think her advice works for everyone, including writers who work at home and freelancers who fly from one office to another. We all work with colleagues, whether we communicate with them face-to-face, by e-mail or telephone. It does concern me that communication by text or social media – particularly Twitter – is open to emotional response simply because of the limit on word count. Never type in an e-mail/text/tweet something you would not say to someone’s face. When I first became a magazine editor and had to manage staff for the first time, I pinned this to my corkboard where I could see it: Honey achieves more than Vinegar. I don’t know the derivation of the saying, it may be an old proverb. There is an American version: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” I’m not sure about the
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Categories: On Writing.

The early days… and dodgy hair

Leaving university in 1982 and hunting for a job as a journalist was difficult: training schemes were being closed; this was long before the invention of the Media Studies course. I was resigned to doing another year as a postgraduate student and then a letter arrived from a publishing company called Benn Publications. Against the grain, it was starting a Graduate Trainee Journalist Programme. After two interviews I got the job. But it wasn’t in Fleet Street, at that time still the centre of London’s newspaper business, long before Eddie Shah’s all-colour newspaper Today and the transferral of printing presses to Docklands. The job was in Tonbridge, Kent. But I had a job, many of my contemporaries didn’t, so I stifled my disappointment and packed my bags. I found a house-share in a pretty Kent village and learned the hands-on way to be a journalist. Bottom up. What can I say about my hair… it was the Eighties. It was my one and only perm. This [below] is a cutting from UK Press Gazette, the weekly magazine for journalists. Where are they all now? From left to right: Val Williams [training editor], Debbie Tripley, Jim Muttram, Trevor Goodman, Bill Cullum,
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Categories: On Writing.

Applying the rules of art to writing: learn to accept criticism

“Critique is the foundation of art school education, and learning to make constructive use of it is one of the most difficult and important lessons to absorb. Look at your own work, and the work of others, as dispassionately as you can. Being defensive or hurt, while a natural reaction, will not help you improve your work. Learn the biases of your instructors so that you make the most use of their comments. Disagreeing with criticism is not wrong, but unless your work succeeds on its own merits in the eyes of your instructors and peers, resistance may not be constructive or helpful. Be brave under fire.” Excerpt from ‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White This applies exactly to creative writing, which by its very nature means being published. Today, as well as being published in books, newspapers or magazines, that may mean self-publishing and blogging online. Wherever you publish, assuming you are writing to be published, other people are going to read what you write. They will have their own opinions about it – about the content, the style, the imagery, the characters – often strong opinions which may take you by surprise. And it’s
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Categories: On Writing.

I agree with… Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris “When I think about why I write, I don’t think it’s very easy to quantify. I’ve always read, and I’ve always written. As a child, it seemed the most natural thing to do. But I grew up in Barnsley in Yorkshire, where I didn’t think people could actually have something like a career in writing.” Excerpt from an interview with Joanne Harris [published March 2nd, 2014] ‘The Sunday Times Magazine’  Absolutely, this sounds like my beginnings as a writer. I too grew up in Yorkshire, not Barnsley but the East Yorkshire coast where the winter wind is so strong it can knock you over. I too read and wrote voraciously as a child, everyone said I would become a teacher [as Joanne Harris did]. But I decided that to become a writer I must become a journalist first. I clearly remember an interview with the A’level careers officer. I told her what I wanted to do and she frowned, “Well you can stop dreaming about that, only the top 2% get to do a job like that. You need to be more realistic.” Suffice to say I ignored her. I went to university in London [the first from
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

I can’t write without…checking my emails

… checking my emails and updating my blogs first. Then I start writing. I know lots of other writers say they find doing emails distracting, but for me I need to get them out of the way before I feel free to write. I write every day, that’s the discipline of journalism deep in my bones. Each to his own. And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: I can’t write without… checking my emails first #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-hg via @SandraDanby
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Categories: On Writing.

I agree with Lynn Barber…

Lynn Barber “At Vanity Fair I had to ‘pitch ideas’ and then go through layers of editors, all of whom asked what my ‘angle’ was going to be. I have always deeply hated and resented this question. If you have an angle on someone, it means you have already decided what to write before you meet, so you really might as well not bother interviewing them.” [excerpt from ‘An Education’ by Lynn Barber] As a journalist, I hated that question too. And I find the same principle applies to writing fiction. It’s good to have a vague plan at the beginning, but it is good to change that plan as you write as the characters and story develop. Predictable = boring. It’s good when your characters start surprising you. If you agree with Lynn Barber, perhaps you will agree with:- Truman Capote – learn the rules then re-arrange them to suit yourself Roddy Doyle – learn the rules then re-arrange them to suit yourself Sarah Hilary – research can become an obsession – and a distraction   ‘An Education’ by Lynn Barber [UK: Penguin] And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Don’t
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Categories: On Writing.