What Does Progress Look Like?

Everyone loves to feel like they’re progressing. The problem is, for some things, outcomes are not quite as tangible as we’d like. If I were an aspiring baker, I’d continue to work on my crumb texture, or perfect the proving of my bread (I only know these words because of Bake Off). As a runner, […]

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All Change (Shift Your Focus to Re-Energise Writing)

The leaves on the tree outside my window are dying. But they are so beautiful in their death. Near the top, they still have green hearts, tinged with an acid-bright red. Towards the bottom, they’ve faded to yellow, as if dipped in custard. Every year this tree stands for months with naked branches. Not until […]

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The Dangers of Over-Plotting

The results are in. After months of worrying over the impact the new English GCSE would have on our students, we’ve found that, thankfully, they’ve done about as well as we expected. Look a little closer, and you could see the particular issues this new system has thrown up. Unsurprisingly, in English Language, the question […]

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When Writing Seems Impossible

One of my favourite reactions to the question ‘why do you write’ came from Lisa McInerney when I saw her at the Emerald Street Literary Festival last year. She’d just won the Bailey’s Prize for fiction (you can see my thoughts on the book here), so she had reasons to be cheerful. Her answer was […]

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Is Borrowing from Mythology Cheating?

When I was a student at University, I took a composition course. Bashing away at the keys of a piano in a quiet practice room (it was 11pm, I had homework due the following day), the impossibility of creating anything genuinely ‘new’ suddenly struck me. There they were, 8 little keys, with black ones in […]

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Holiday Writing (does it work?)

I​`​m currently in an apartment on Miljet, a beautiful little island just off the coast of Croatia. This is the second week of a fantastic holiday that`s taken me from Sarajevo, through Mostar, down to Dubrovnik and finally here. So the question is — what effect does all that relaxation and enjoyment have on your […]

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How Memory Can Help Your Writing

I distinctly remember, around the age of twenty, vowing that I wouldn’t be one of those people who stopped going clubbing. All of this nonsense about it being too loud, or too late, or too expensive, was something you would never hear from my mouth. I loved going out and drinking and dancing every week. […]

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