When to stop writing

Inspirational unlock-your-inner-novelist books, beware! Here’s a Nobelist to tell you like it is. To be fair to Szymborska, she’s not a grand old man of literature who looks down her nose. And when she was writing the letters published in this book, she did mention the Nobel, but not because she’d won it yet. BecauseContinue reading “When to stop writing”

Writing in a Winter Wonderland 2022

In January 2020, we wrote together in a winter wonderland and it was wonderful. At the Writers’ House in Jyväskylä, the snow started falling just as we finished writing. I knew we’d do it again soon… Two years on, we have come to value our time together in person even more. It is precious, whenContinue reading “Writing in a Winter Wonderland 2022”

Memory Speaks

Writing in your own language is not as easy as you might think. What if you have more than one language? What if your first language is so deeply buried within you, you have real trouble digging it out? What does that do to your brain, your heart, and the society you live in? InContinue reading “Memory Speaks”

King On Writing

I resisted reading King’s On Writing for a while. A friend doing a clearout passed it on. A colleague who’s committed to writing well reviewed it. And then my brother gave it to me as a late birthday present. “It’s good,” he said. So I read it, in a day. Here are ten things fromContinue reading “King On Writing”

How easy is your language?

Imagine that… everywhere in Europe, it is easy to find information it doesn’t matter how well you can read writers make their message easy for everyone to understand. The Handbook of Easy Languages in Europe imagines just that. It shows what works and what still needs doing to make language easy for everyone. Camilla LindholmContinue reading “How easy is your language?”

How plain is your English?

Clear writing has clear results. And I love helping writers say exactly what they mean so readers can understand. But I was sure I could write better myself. Then I started mentoring someone who specialized in plain English and I wanted to learn more. If you’re interested in it, too, do the CIEP Plain EnglishContinue reading “How plain is your English?”

A Room of Our Own

Virginia Woolf was clear: £500 a year and a room of one’s own is what one needs to write. More than a century later, more than a year in, we are still mostly stuck in our rooms, but whether those rooms are solely our own is another question. Unlike many, for me the move toContinue reading “A Room of Our Own”

The Writer’s Map

A beautiful illustrated book from Thames and Hudson is always a delight, but if that was all The Writers Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands was, I wouldn’t be writing about it here. It’s a map to, by, with, from, and for writers. The maps themselves are truly glorious and transport you across space andContinue reading “The Writer’s Map”

The Subversive Copy Editor

Is this the book that will finally get me on Twitter? Do writers need to read a book for editors? Should you judge a book by its title? Why write about this classic now? Carol Fisher Saller answers tricky questions for a living, as editor of the Q&A for the Chicago Manual of Style online.Continue reading “The Subversive Copy Editor”

The Tender Narrator

Czuły narrator is the book Olga Tokarczuk finally had time to write in 2020. When the world slowed down, she could, too (her beautiful picture book The Lost Soul, also illustrated by Joanna Concejo, was ever so prescient about slowing down). Much of her writing in this collection premiered for a different audience, including politicalContinue reading “The Tender Narrator”