This Writing Life

"We Wait for his Letters Home" ~ The Los Angeles Times

Please enjoy this archive from the days when my blog was html only ... and hop across to my new BLOG: So you want to be a writer

Writing is a solitary business, yet ultimately it's the most engaged form of living I know. It's fueled by observations and experiences of life. Like many tender things that you care for, it is also supposed to grow up, leave home and pay its way in the world.

These notes are my own comments from the frontline of This Writing Life. Things I've learned, things I've suffered, things I've enjoyed. Happy reading!

Book Launches in Zimbabwe (11.02.06)

Writing Retreats (21.09.05)

Writing for Money (02.08.05)

A Conversation with James Purdy (28.04.05)

A Writer Goes to the Fair - LBF 2005 (15.03.05)

A Wow for The Scotsman's digital archive (16.01.05)

James Purdy's Writing Life (29.12.04)

YAF _ Writing Young Adult Fiction (02.12.04)

Antony Sher, Novel Writing and the 'literary establishment' (13.10.04)

Back on my Bike (27.9.04)

Looking for Jesus in All the Wrong Places (24.8.04)

Holiday Reading on Lake Muskoka (14.8.04)

Reading When Writing ... and finding Saul Bellow(15.4.04)

Getting an Agent and other such stuff (29.2.04)

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and the nature of dystopian fiction (29.1.04)

What's the point of Short Stories? (08.12.03)

Let it Sing - Jamie O'Neill's At Swim Two Boys (20.11.03)

Yoof (17.11.03)

Pitching a Novel, Hollywood-style (09.11.03)

From Blackpool to Santa Barbara (03.11.03)

Look Who's Watching (23.10.03)

Joyce Hackett; Susanna Jones; Marion Zimmer Bradley (26.09.03)

Waving Goodbye to Princess Di (22.09.03)

James Baldwin, Giovanni, and Awkward Characters (07.08.03)

Don't Make it Read like a Book (25.07.03)

Avebury Stone Circle (28.05.03)

Post-Ironic Literature (17.05.03)

Literary Agent #2 - Deborah Rogers (21.04.03)

Christoper Reich's The First Billion(14.04.03)

Teaching (30.03.03)

Desiderata (08.03.03)

In Marcel Pagnol Country(23.02.03)

Vive la France! (17.02.03)

What have you seen that was beautiful today? (09.02.03)

The Middle of the Night (05.02.03)

Ghost Stories (16.01.03)

Taking Writers Personally(28.11.02)

Audio Books (23.11.02)

Hospital soaps (14.11.02)

What kids don't like about theatre (12.11.02)

Biography and the writer (08.11.02)

Anthony Burgess's Secret (04.11.02)

The sickness or the cure?(24.10.02)

Why writers don't write about work (12.10.02)

Wigtown ~ Scotland's Book Town (30.09.02)

Keeping Language Young (22.09.02)

Chaim Potok (14.09.02)

The forum that was (31.08.02)

Perchance to dream (28.08.02)

Literary Venice (21.08.02)

The summer of living a little (05.08.02)

My Mother's Passing (30.07.02)

Lunch with Mrs Lazarus (19.07.02)

Ambition (05.07.02)

Literary Agent #1: Mic Cheetham (02.07.02)

Guess the Novel (30.06.02)

Cromozone done and dusted (27.06.02)

John Donne to Ravi Shankar (25.06.02)

"I'm sharing a smile with Doris" - Nadine Gordimer at PEN (23.06.02)

A novel as prophecy - too weird by half (21.06.02)

A call from Plymouth (18.06.02)

Cambridge, England (14.06.02)

The End (12.06.02)

Ending Pending (10.06.02)

Writing for Nothing (09.06.02)

What's past is past (Secrets of Bestsellers #5) (04.06.02)

Using familiar place in a novel (28.05.02)

On Visiting Shakespeare's Globe (27.05.02)

John Bunyan's Slough of Despond 2002 (20.05.02)

My Mom (18.05.02)

Algae on Dad's Grave (15.05.02)

Doing local radio (13.05.02)

If Orwell lived today (12.05.02)

Doing my best not to gripe (09.05.02)

The Top 100 books of all time (08.05.02)

TEFL and writers (06.05.01)

Connected! (02.05.01)

Mayday Small Publisher Route #9 (01.05.02)

The 1000 Word a Day Writing-plan (30.04.02)

Things I don't want you to know (29.04.02)

Jesus Hopped the A Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis (28.04.02)

Introducing Steven (26.04.02)

The Lunatic Spawn of Le Pen and Mary Whitehouse (24.04.02)

Writing from the gut (23.04.02)

Superwoman - SECRETS OF BESTSELLERS #4 (21.04.02)

Reviews - [small publisher route #8] (19.04.02)

Edging Forwards (18.04.02)

Working from home (17.04.02)

Notes from a tour across France (16.04.02)

Rainy Days and Mondays (11.04.02)

The Biggleswade Chronicle (10.04.02)

When Characters Grow Up (09.04.02)

Couples (08.04.02)

Gosford Park (07.04.02)

Blowing it off (06.04.02)

A River runs through it (04.04.02)

Expanding from within (03.04.02)

Fashioning a retreat (02.04.02)

A Novel's Beginning (01.04.02)

On Sacred Mountains THE BOOK! (Small Publisher Route #7) (29.03.02)

Cut to the Chase (SECRETS OF BESTSELLERS #3) (28.03.02)

So much for lovely writing (27.03.02)

The Pyrenees (26.03.02)

Vive la difference (22.03.02)

On Being Adrift(21.03.02)

Picador & Graham Swift (20.03.02)

An author not at the London Book Fair (19.03.02)

Great to be edited (18.03.02)

Wanted, dead or alive: Biographical Subjects (15.03.02)

Handling Rejection (14.03.02)

Walks with a View (13.03.02)

Ho hum (12.03.02)

Oxford (11.03.02)

Publicity (Small Publisher Route #6) (08.03.02)

Anger as fuel (07.03.2002)

The Discovery of Heaven (06.03.2002)

When the whole world crashes (a computer thing) (05.03.2002)

So what's the point of an author website? (02.03.2002)

A lesson from Sri Aurobindo (28.02.2002) Reviews (27.02.2002)

Getting Away With It (SECRETS OF BESTSELLERS #2) (26.02.2002)

Scifi readers lead the way (25.02.2002)

Harper Collins takes a moral stance! (24.02.2002)

Wot, no benefits? (22.02.2002)

The Doctrine of Shame (21.02.2002)

Workrate and the Masters (20.02.2002)

"Longing" and other wicked words (Small Publisher Route #5) (19/02/02)

Madrid for writers (18/02/02)

Dreams into Words (12/02/02)

Subtle as Billboards (11/02/02)

The Small Publisher Route to Success #4 (07/02/02)

Jubilate (06/02/02)

"Take Action, Mother!" (05/02/02)

Wielding subtitles (04/02/02)

So who wants a long book anyway! (small publisher route #3) (02/02/02)

Belonging (01/02/02)

Rights reverted and Galleys Away (Small Publisher Route #2) (31/1/02)

Multi-tasking (30/1/02)

Getting the word out (29/1/02)

Oh Lucky Me! (28/1/02)

Hey Novelist - What's your book REALLY about? (25/1/02)

Happy Endings (24/1/02)

Bathtime (23/1/02)

The New Routine (22/1/02)

Soho (21/1/02)

To the Hills! (18/1/02)

Selling oneself (17/1/02)

Torments R Us! (14/1/02)

Zoom! - Small publishers look great from here! (Small Publisher Route #1) (12/1/02)

There She Blows! (10/1/02)

Three Lessons from Editing (8/1/02)

Hamlet or Yorick? ~ The Writer's Choice (6/1/02)

Smiling in Slow Motion - Diaries and Derek Jarman (4/1/02)

What's past is past - the struggle over tenses (3/1/02)

International Year of Mountains (2/1/02)

Lord of the Rings (29/12/01)



The Price of a Novel (19/12/01)

Another Opening Another Show! (17/12/01)

Colonoscopies and the Royal Literary Fund (15/12/01)

Young men's plays (12/12/01)

What's in a name? (11/12/01)

Whooping it UP with the Salvation Army (10/12/01)

What's Alan Bennett reading today? (9/12/01)

Envy & the Bookstore Visit (8/12/01)

The Book of the Film of the Book ... (7/12/01)

From Mid-list Writer to Bestseller!

When Dead Fathers Loom

How long's a book take? 20 years and counting ...

Hey! I'm Collectable!

Textual Disease

Armistead Maupin v. Patricia Highsmith

Mother Clap's Molly House

The Other Harry Potter

Sandy Beds

Summer passes into Autumn ...


Tucking It In


Big Sur

Sometimes it's hard

Taking a Break

Writers At Work

What is Writer's Block?

The Original Paperback Question

The Writers as Monsters Question

Moving On


Catching Up

Displacement Activities