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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Be a Better Writer

In her book, 10 Rules of Writing, Elmore Leonard advised would be authors to – ‘Get an accountant, abstain from sex and similes, cut, rewrite, then cut and rewrite again – if all else fails, pray’. Whilst Ernest Hemmingway famously wrote, ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is just sit at a typewriter and bleed.’

But surely there’s more to great writing than simply praying and hemorrhaging at your desk… I’ve analysed advice by famous authors in an attempt to discover how to become a better writer.  My favourite tips are listed below; let me know what you think of them.

1. “Find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” – Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451

How to use it:

At first glance it seems Bradbury is advocating a sort of voodoo magic in the creative writing process whereby protagonists take care of the plot for you. However I think what he’s really saying here is that your characters should …

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Writing Touchstone 10: Identity

‘Just be yourself’ is about the worst advice anyone can give. It’s the “just” that does it. The perceived thing changes: if you’re self-conscious, you’re not the same as when you’re unobserved. You’re also different with every friend, pet and family member in your life. Every personality has facets, every life has eras and everybody has good and bad days. Still, these sides and eras are united in an essential self. When feeling confident, engaged and safe, that self can be accessed more fully. That’s the goal, on the page or off. It’s difficult to eliminate stress factors, self-doubt and self-consciousness. Being yourself is anything but a “just”.

Writing to please yourself is the best way to learn about your own identity as a writer. Your voice and ideas aren’t compromised; you’re free to experiment and explore. Each Green Ink Writers’ Gym warm-up begins with one rule: no editing or self-criticism. This licensed self-exploration makes the blank page …

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Authors, achieve more in 2017

Last year, the team at I_AM Self-Publishing created our first ever author goals worksheet, which we shared right here on www.writersandartists.co.uk, and it was the most popular piece of content we have ever created. This year, we have gone back to the drawing board, read up on the advice from top goal achievers and successful entrepreneurs, and put together a new 30-page guide and workbook – Author Goals: Your guide to achieving more  which you can download here.


Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” - Tony Robbins, bestselling author & entrepreneur


Why bestselling authors set goals

Writing, publishing and marketing a book well takes time and effort. The authors I know are busy people who often juggle this with their other work, as well as family and general life commitments. Also, as creatives, authors can sometimes have lots of ideas that pull them in lots of different directions, but struggle to …

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Touchstone 9: Observation

‘Can you teach Creative Writing?’

There have been and will continue to be well-publicised arguments about whether something so individual can or should be taught. The answer, though, should depend on what we mean by “taught”. Creative ability can’t be learned by rote, or recited like a times table. However, good habits and stimulus from a good teacher will provide an introduction to key techniques that encourage the student to move forward towards their own discoveries. 

‘Can you learn Creative Writing?’

You can always become more fluent in your own voice. If you are a writer, at any stage in your career, you should never stop learning. The longer and more successful the career the more true that is, so if you’re a relative beginner you have no excuse not to be learning creative writing. 

Perception drives reality. So pay attention.

You can also teach yourself to think and live like a writer. The rest is passion and hard work and don’t kid yourself it’s always …

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Firewords Competition: And The Winner Is...


We're delighted to reveal the team over at Firewords Quarterly have chosen their winners for our recent short story competition. Over 550 entries directly inspired by Maggie Chiang's wonderful illustration came in, each story providing its own unique take and prompting plenty of debate amongst the editorial team over at Firewords HQ.

It was such a tough job to choose a winner, in fact, that the work of two writers couldn't be separated... meaning two stories will be published in an upcoming edition of Firewords Quarterly!

The first runner up, who will receive back-list copies of Firewords Quarterly Magazine is...


Jeanne Panfely with 'A Mother Whale Lifts Her Head.'

Feedback from Firewords Quarterly: 

Jeanne pulled off something really challenging in this story: she took the reader by the hand and let them experience a child’s imagination without patronising them. Writing from the perspective of a young protagonist and making it feel authentic but also engaging to a reader of any age …

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