Are You a Freelancer at Heart?

Just as community (however you define that) is a strong motivating force for many writers, so is the desire to earn money as a writer. This has its pros and cons (and grey areas). And to decide if you’re really cut out for a freelance life, I’ve sketched out a few questions: How much of a risk taker are you? (I like to have two days paid a week, rather than relying on sequential short term contracts) What makes you [...]

Sending your Work Out

Most of us poets reach a point where we’re ready to send our work out: some earlier than others; some more frequently than others, but it’s one (of the many, I think) benefits of being a poet over being a novelist – we can get feedback or readers of our work before we’ve finished an entire book. But for the experience to be more uplifting and encouraging than demoralising I think there are few things to consider before applying the [...]

Digging out the Gems of Research

Last week Jenn was talking about research and its joys and pitfalls. So I thought I’d add the subject of imagery to the conversation. Imagery is to poetry what plot is to novels: not an essential but a very welcome ingredient. Of course it can be as explicit or as implicit as you wish; either way it needs to be cohesive, relevant and clear. Unless you’re going for the headlong enthusiasm of the beat poets … But for the purpose [...]

Managing your Research

You may be checking street names and bus-routes, or immersing yourself in a time and place different from your own. You might be finding out if it’s really possible to fix a car engine with a pair of tights, or discovering what tulip bulbs and sailing boats might have in common. Either way, research is an activity most writers perform at some point and for some, it can be problematic. Let’s not concentrate on the down side straight away. For [...]

Before You Start…

At the Writing Smithy we know that for many writers, getting published is a burning goal, a life’s dream and one of the ambitions that drives them back to the desk when things, as they always do, get tricky. Sadly, this urgency and passion can also make new writers vulnerable – to either making a hasty decision, or choosing a path that seemed right at the time, but proved to be a wrong turning. While we’d love, of course, for [...]

Goal Setting

When I talk about goal setting, you may groan, fearing repeats of corporate speak about SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed (or something similarly dry) – and while these are all reasonable, they are bit, well, boring. Sarah Hymas writes about alternative ways to set yourself writing and career goals in her Writing Smithy guest post over at Andrew Oldham’s blog.