Monday, 20 September 2010

Alan Plater

I watched Alan Plater's last play, Joe Maddison's War, on television last night.

It had all of his trademark quirkiness and compassionate observation.  We've owned the Beiderbecke Trilogy for years and return to it whenever we want something that offers a sense of the ridiculous and wonderful characters.

This week my sister and I are making our annual visit to Scarborough for the jazz festival.  I never had the privilege of talking to Alan Plater but I saw him in action at Scarborough a couple of times.narrating tales of unsung heroes of jazz with his usual humour and passion.

His recent death robs us of a superb writer and we'll be the worse for not having his wry humour to draw on.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Di Slaney - 'sME Poetry Collection

Had a wonderful surprise in the post this morning.  Di Slaney has sent me a copy of the poetry collection I reviewed for her.  Looks wonderful- Black with gold lettering.  Just what you'd expect from a successful graphic designer.

If you're interested in more details about the collection email

If you want to read my thoughts and Di's about the collection see

She very kindly acknowledges my help and more important the help of Jenny at Candlestick Press who I've mentioned before in the Writer's Little Book blog.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Writing business: how it grows and changes

I set this blog up earlier in the year to have a place for longer posts rather than the short punchy entries I make in Writer's Little Book blog.

Now I'm changing the way I do things and it set me thinking how my business is changing.

Like any small business, when you start it's a temptation to take any work because you need the income.  Sometimes that leads you to disaster if the client is wrong for you or they don't appreciate what you do. 

I was lucky that I attracted some great clients right from the word go.  But even then there's a change in the way you view them.  Like many writers I prefer to have a mixture of what I'd call bread and butter work and the more challenging projects.

Eventually it's the challenging projects that provide more growth and development as a writer but they can take your business in a different direction from what you'd expected.  When I first started I thought I'd be writing a lot of sales letters.  Which didn't happen but I did work on many websites which are themselves a form of sales letter. 

Then I was asked about books.  Helping people write them that is... which put me in a bit of a panic because I'd never done it before.  But I reasoned that I hadn't done a lot of other things before so it could be learned.

Having brought my first book project to a successful conclusion, it whetted my appetite for more.  And I found myself being asked by more people about writing books.  How you do it, how you start, how you stop and how to get over those writer's blocks we all fear.

What I love is to help someone take action and create something that had only sat in their imagination before.  Of course we'd all love an instant best seller, but it often doesn't happen like that.  But I do believe the mere action of putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard kicks off a process that can lead to all kinds of things beyond the act of writing.

So my business has changed and is changing.  I'm emphasing what I can do to help writers.  Next month I'll have a new website that will be branded under my own name.  And that will open more door to me.

I'm taking over to the new site all the Writer's Little Book material and it will offer a full range of services to writers.  There are some exciting developments coming along with the possibility of having videos of interviews with writers on the site as well as more guest blogs.

It's a development that has me buzzing and I'm looking forward to sharing what I find out with you.