Posts tagged Writing

A Steam of Consciousness

As I was writing recently, a slip of the pen turned a stream of consciousness into a steam of consciousness. I quickly inserted the missing “r”, but then it made me think that steam is actually a better metaphor than stream. Consciousness is not like a stream that flows predictably along a set course from its source to its destination…. Read More

How to Write About Suicide and Self-Harm

The UK Society of Authors recently published a new factsheet on writing about suicide and self-harm, and I wanted to highlight it and draw attention to its main lessons. Stories are powerful, and writers consequently bear a heavy responsibility for getting it right and not doing harm, especially when it comes to writing about topics like suicide and self-harm. About… Read More

How Can We Talk About Climate Change? How Can We Not?

Climate change has become such a clear, species-threatening emergency that sometimes it feels strange to talk or write about anything else. Yes, I know, Covid-19. But a pandemic, although immensely destructive, will end eventually. In the longer term, climate change is a much bigger threat to our survival on this planet. Most of the things I spend my day thinking… Read More

See What I Did There?

Has anyone else noticed an annoying trend in contemporary writing? OK, there are probably several that spring to mind (“I was sat?”), but the one I’m thinking about today is “See what I did there?” You’re likely to encounter this phrase any time the writer has used a rather obvious pun, but it could appear after any piece of wordplay…. Read More

Parkinson’s Law and the Pull of a Deadline

It was like a nightmare. I was entering a $100,000 essay contest, and it was deadline day, with plenty of work still to do. Then I noticed with horror that the deadline was not midnight, as I’d thought, but midday. My first draft was written, but it still needed a lot of work. I’d planned to spend all day polishing… Read More

A Story From a “What If?” Moment

One eveningĀ in Crete, a couple of years ago, I saw something that made a lasting impression on me. A small boy, maybe eight or nine years old, sitting in front of a large green rubbish bin, with an accordion in his hands and a mournful-looking dog by his side. He wasn’t playing the accordion, but just holding it and gazing… Read More