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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Give Yourself Credit

I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been a great summer for the word count. Finding myself at the end of a mammoth edit for one novel and fiddling around with ideas for a new one has not exactly led to an outpouring of sentences. Always a bit of a ‘should-er,’ I find myself getting a little […]

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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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Fragment #6 Displaced

A slump of a man is in the waiting area. Hunched over the chrome and black chair, his scuffed trainers rest on the marble. Baggy denim hangs from his knees, eyes darting through the shaggy fall of hair. Jacob stands separate, watching his brother’s discomfort. Sealed in a suit, the polish of his shoes matching […]

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