Why I don’t write #3: Because I’m no good.

It’s so difficult to objectively assess the quality of your own work. Is being an English teacher a help or a hindrance? When the day is spent surrounded by some of the best n literature that the English language has to offer, and when you’re spending the day exploring, other people’s writing, sometimes it perhaps isn’t as helpful as it might be. Assessing your own work is hard: it’s why so many people recommend leaving a gap between writing and editing, to help you see the flaw and mistakes, and give a clearer view of the value that’s there too …

Why I don’t write #2: Lack of stamina

Sitting down to write something, some fictional glimmer that’s struck me that day or been sitting with me for days, weeks, occasionally months, and I find it difficult to get beyond a few pages. Then I give up. Because obviously, when I think about great writers and their work that makes me want to cry with inadequacy,, in my head they wander to their garden office (on the wishlist) with their morning cup of tea, and write furiously, all day long. They produce beautiful sentences which grow and change into glorious paragraphs, tense and exciting chapters, until finally, a finished …

Why I don’t write #1: Lack of ideas

I’ve been thinking about this series for a while, realising that post-wedding, post-new term, I still am not writing and a series of goal dates flash past while the page stays empty. I have lots of reasons and excuses in my head. But even as I started to type the title, my fingers pause on the colon: I don’t know what to write. I have ideas. I have ideas on the pages of notebooks that line two study shelves and that are in my desk tidy, on a post-it note in the back of my school planner, on word documents …

How to start a great essay

Essay writing is a great way to practise writing skills, whether your preferred genre is fiction or non-fiction. You need to have a clear goal in mind, your phrasing needs to be both beautiful and clear, and you need to make every word, as when writing poetry, count. It’s always been a great art form too – although I suppose essayists were something like the newspaper editorial columnists of their day! While columnists write generally on relatively transient and personal ideas, the great essayists wrote meditations where they really thought about the big questions. William Hazlitt and John Stuart Mill …