Latest Posts

3 Lessons from a Year of Not Writing

The gauzy illumination of fairy lights reveals the coloured spines stacked along every shelf and bedside drawer. There, a poetry book preordered the minute the writer announced it. Here, an anthology produced from a previous commission. And just there, a thoughtfully-selected collection gifted from a friend, with the tiny cursive note forever inked onto the […]

The Power of ‘No’ for Writers

As a writer, we must always seek the word ‘yes’. We want editors to say ‘yes’ to those painstakingly-polished submissions. We want a ‘yes’ from the grant application for that great project idea. We want readers to say ‘yes’ when making the decision to buy our books or read our work. Likewise, we have learned […]

Short Story: Vinegar

Published in ‘Cheval’ (2015), edited by Jonathan Edwards and Alan Perry It was Jack’s sixth Sunday of being a saint.   ‘Next door’s having Sunday dinner,’ said Dan, leaning out through the back door to let the cat in. He watched Delyth-Next-Door’s cardiganed shape move through the steamy windows, the sound of her Madonna CD and […]

How Can Writing Help Your Mental Health?

A girl snaps on the bedside light and squints against its raw artificial glow. It is two o’clock in the morning. Already she’s dreading the next day at school: the laughter shuddering on a plume of cigarette smoke outside the gates; the laughter as she lurches clumsily onto the schoolyard and feels the deliberate thud […]

4 Common Writing Tips It’s Okay To Ignore

We love hearing about other people’s writing processes. And we adore hearing advice from big-name authors, holding onto their every word in the hope that if we just do things the same way they do – down to the number of coffees per day and their designated hours of writing – we’ll somehow follow that […]

New Year, New You: Change the Way You Think About Your Writing Goals

What have you achieved this year?  Intensified by the hyper-filtered, rose-tinted reel of social media, many of us spend an inordinate of time worrying whether we’ve achieved enough. Perhaps the novel you planned on completing by June is still no more than a 1500 word document you mostly forced yourself through in the first week […]

Are Online Literary Events Really the Future?

It seems that for almost every day of the week, there’s an abundance of writing workshops, poetry open mics, book launches, courses and panel talks available to attend. It’s ironic that during these widespread restrictions, we’re actually no longer restrained by geographical location but can attend any event we please from all over the world […]

Author Interview: Lee Prosser

In the next of the author interview series, poet and musician Lee Prosser tells all about his writing journey, his inspirations and his the best writing advice he ever received. Tell me a little bit about your work – when did you get started and what are you working on currently? I started writing poetry […]

Is Perfectionism Blocking Your Writing Process?

I’ve written a few posts now on overcoming creative blocks and editing your creative work to get it ready for submission. However, a key part of the writing process I haven’t written about – and perhaps we as writers often hide from the outside world – is the whole messiness of the creative process itself. […]

Collaboration: Your Free, Powerful Writing Tool

We’re naturally drawn to gossip. Writing rivals? Intriguing. Feuds with publishers? Tell me more. Drama over book awards? Let me pull up my seat. But working together with other writers to create truly unexpected pieces of creative work? Yawn. No one wants any of that. Yet in times where social media trolling is rife, tensions […]

Author Interview: Rachel Carney

In the first of the author interview series, poet and PhD candidate Rachel Carney tells all about her writing journey, a virtual writing residency and her well-known book blog Created to Read. Tell me a little bit about your work – when did you get started and what are you working on currently? I’ve been […]

You’re Never Too Old (Or Too Young) to Start Writing

Can we talk about the word “emerging” when describing writers at the beginning of their writing careers? When you hear “emerging writer”, what age are you imagining the writer to be? For too many of us, we’ve been led to believe that to be an emerging writer is to be young and usually fresh out […]

How to Edit Your Writing Before You Submit

Writing is just one step in getting your work published. You might have spent weeks researching the context of the piece you’re writing and now, finally, you’ve written the final word. You lift the sheet of paper from the printer and hold it up against the light like you’re auditioning for a part in The […]

Going Out With A Bang: My Top 10 Final Lines in Poetry

We talk a lot about our favourite opening lines in literature, but for me there’s something quite laudable about the delivery of a killer final line when it comes to poetry. As poets, we must seek to ensure that every word is necessary. Every word and punctuation mark must have earned its place. Unlike fiction, […]

Finding Comfort in Old Books and Familiar Writing

During lockdown, many of us are filling up our bookshelves with new reads and good intentions. If you’re anything like me, your well-intentioned pile of to-be-read books could almost rival the grandiose heights of Mount Vesuvius. Every day, a parcel thumps against the doormat; book-shaped, bubble-wrapped, a promise. Hours of every evening are spent spiralling […]

Kindness in Crisis: You Matter Too

As I write this, I am overwhelmed. Completely and utterly overwhelmed. And this feels like such a selfish thing to admit. Bizarre, isn’t it? I’m overwhelmed with wanting to help so many people, but feel selfish for admitting I feel bad. Help Harder As we head towards another week of lockdown, for many of us, […]

How to Perform Your Poetry Despite Nerves

When I first decided poetry was my chosen path with writing, I’d gone into it assuming poets were the reclusive ones. As far as I was concerned, it was the novelists who did the big readings and were thrust into the spotlight; poets were quiet creatures, letting the lines in their verse do the talking. […]

Top Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block

In my last post, I talked about the importance of stepping back and being kind to yourself if you’re finding it hard to write during these difficult times. Staring at the same four walls, not interacting with new people, and not embracing new experiences as you normally would will doubtless take a hit on your […]

The Top 10 Books That Inspired Me as a Writer

As I highlighted in my previous post, writing is difficult right now for a lot of us. I want to thank everyone who responded with their own stories of how they’re struggling to write too; there’s a sense that we should just keep quiet and pretend we’ve got projects all simmering away when in fact, […]

Creativity in Crisis: Why It’s Okay Not To Make Art Right Now

The dry rustle of hands shoved into coat pockets is an act of protection, hugs are replaced by nervous nods, and to step out into the crisp sunshine more than once is to break the law. Social media is a flickering buzz of news articles, virus-related memes, and screenshots of Zoom meetings, a glass of […]

Can We Talk Frankly About Anxiety and Rejection in Writing?

This is a frank, honest one because there’s enough pretence in this era of social media and highlight reels. As I’m writing this, local areas are flooding, every news article announces a new update on pandemic, or murders, or hate crime, and my own anxiety is eating me away from the inside out. Rejections have […]

How to Get Your Poetry Published: Top 5 Tips

I’m often sent messages from aspiring writers who want advice on the paths to publication, submissions, competitions and editing their work. I love being able to help people grow and develop as writers, so thought it’s about time I compiled this advice into a blog post for you to access at any time. Remember, I’m […]

How to Overcome Self-Doubt in Writing

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh Ever feel like you’re being watched? Perhaps you’re trying to crack on with that novel. Or maybe you’re perched on a bench, trying to capture the landscape in front […]

Writing and Running: Miles of Inspiration

“Most of what I know about fiction, I learned by running every day.” – Haruki Murakami  It had been a long, self-defeating eighteen months of avoiding writing. During a particularly challenging 2017-18, poetry had stubbornly evaded and, unsurprisingly, angered me.  “Read,” others had suggested. “Read until you feel inspired.” But reading did not make me […]

No Writer is an Island: The Misconception of the Lone Writer

“No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.”  —Helen Keller If I say the word “writer” to you, what do you see in your mind’s eye? Do you see a lone novelist, hunched over a laptop, curtains drawn? […]

Poetry as Therapy: Healer or Hype?

“Let me see what I wrote so I know what I think.” – W H Auden Think back to a time where you felt lost. Perhaps you’d gone through a break-up. Lost a job. Perhaps you just couldn’t explain why; your mood was just low. How many times, feeling helpless, did you seek comfort in […]


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