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Writing Advice

In this section, you will find a collection of blogs dedicated to writing advice. So, if your manuscript is starting to drive you crazy, or you’re not sure how to get started, read on for the push you need to create your masterpiece.

Send It, Don’t Scrap It!

Anastasia Prempeh

As a writer my relationship with my work could often be described as ‘complicated’. The same poem can feel like the best thing I’ve ever written and in another moment seem like it just isn’t working. Then there’s the process of trying to edit and improve the piece to make it ‘great’, but becoming so involved in the words, the syntax and the line breaks can sometimes make it feel like I can’t look at it objectively anymore. What makes a great poem great anyway? Feedback and second/third/fourth opinions can be helpful but in the end - and I’m sure many other writers do the same - I go with my gut.

Unfortunately though, this is also where doubt can rear its ugly head. It's so easy to just ‘scrap it’ and put it away. But don’t let this happen. Send it. Submit it to a magazine, a review, an anthology. Enter it in a competition. As clichéd as it sounds, when I submitted ‘Those Words’ to the Great British Write Off competition I didn’t expect to win. …

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The Rollercoaster Relationship I Have With My Writing

There was a girl and boy in the top year of my school that had been together since the last year of primary school. Everyone knew them, everyone was used to seeing them nuzzling each other’s necks, and equally as often, wringing them. One week they were in love, snuggled up on a bench, feeding each other crisps, giggling, whispering “I love you”, and the next, they’d be on opposite sides of the dining hall, glaring at one another, until one would storm off shouting “I hate you!” It was a cycle. Sulk, kiss, make up, declare love to world, disagree, scream, shout, declare hatred, and repeat. A rollercoaster, really, and the type of relationship my 13-year-old self vowed to avoid. And I did, very successfully... Until I decided I wanted to be a writer. While so far I may have managed to avoid a tumultuous love-hate relationship with another person, the truth is, I have one with everything I write, and everything I have ever written. In between the initial idea and submitting …

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Poetry Writing Tips from The London Magazine

The London Magazine

We put together some of our best writing tips and techniques. Whether you're an established writer or making your first foray into the world of poetry - we like to think these will be helpful to all poets. 

To write effective poetry you have to read loads of poems. Read contemporary poetry as well as poems from the great historic slipstream of verse. However, do not try to approximate the poetic forms and concerns of bygone epochs. Immerse yourself in the ways that contemporary poets are framing their work in terms of structure.  

Indeed, think of the word framing when you come to write. Think of the poem more as an assembly of language on the blank space of the page. It is up to you how and where you place your words. A collection of poems is like an exhibition of paintings set against the white walls of a gallery.

Writing poetry is always an exercise in the ultra-specificities of language. Abstraction and opacity are the enemies of good poetry. …

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The Lies I Tell Myself As A Writer

I was on a packed tube one sweaty Saturday, when a woman beside me said to her friend, ‘I worked on my novel yesterday. About three thousand words...’ 

‘Oh, cool,’ he said. 

‘Not sure about that,’ she laughed. ‘I read it back this morning and it’s rubbish. I should’ve gone out with you instead.’ 

I can’t tell you how much that comforted me as a writer, who was at the time in a creative slump, convinced I’d never write anything worth reading again and no other writer knew such frustration. Without knowing, without meaning to, the stranger in the tube carriage put my mind at ease; her words were like a nonexistent nod that said, ‘We are all the same.’ 

There’s something to be said for knowing you aren’t the only one, that ‘it happens to the best of us’, that most writers – perhaps even every writer – has that little voice inside their head that enjoys talking them out of writing and away from their desk, talking their pen away from …

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Writers' Groups - Are They Any Good?

Writing advice

Before I became a mother, I vowed I would never join a mother and baby group.  Before I had twins, I vowed I would never join a twins and multiple births group. Before I set out to become a published writer, I vowed I would never join a writers’ group.

Guess what?  I joined all three.

It’s not that I couldn’t manage on my own. I consider myself to be self-sufficient, self-disciplined and rigorously independent. Yet, there have been undeniable benefits to joining all these groups. Here are some.


Only mothers of twins know how annoying it is when, oblivious to your bedraggled appearance and bloodshot eyes, someone says, ‘Oooh, I always wanted twins.’  Only writers know how annoying it is when, oblivious to your bedraggled appearance and bloodshot eyes, someone says, ‘Oooh I always wanted to write a book.’ It’s good to meet up with people who truly understand your experiences, with whom you can enjoy a good moan and …

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