The Writer's Cookbook

Writing, productivity, publishing.

Category: Creativity (Page 1 of 4)

Should you write how you speak? Whether you write fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, the same rule applies.

Should You Write How You Speak?

We were all taught in school that nonfiction should be written formally. Don’t use contractions, metaphors, or similes, and don’t acknowledge the reader in any way.

And you know what?

For academic writing, that’s just fine.

But you’re in the real world now.

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Sharpen your writing with these five simple ways to improve your writing.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Writing

Crafting clear, simple sentences that connect with your readers sounds simple.

But it’s really, really not.

Many academic institutions teach you the exact opposite of how to write in this way.

That means that when you’re blogging, you want to write a commercial book, or even when you’re a poet, it can be very difficult to convey your ideas clearly and sharply.

In fact, writing clearly and expressing your ideas in a simple way is one of the most difficult challenges you’ll face, particularly when you first start out.

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We need the Creative Writing A Level: here's why

Why We Need the Creative Writing A Level

There was no such thing as a Creative Writing A Level when I chose my A Level options aged 16. The closest thing was English Language or English Literature. I hated being told what to read and having to analyse the work of more established writers (and also Wuthering Heights), so I opted for English Language. Whilst I enjoyed studying English Language, I didn’t get to do nearly as much creative writing as I would’ve liked.

Unfortunately, the Creative Writing A Level in the UK will soon come to an end. The last A Level exams for it will be sat in 2018. There’s an increasing focus on academic writing in schools, meaning that those of us who are more creative are left to believe we’re less intelligent because we’re writers, artists, or musicians.

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Why you'll never achieve perfection as a writer

Why You’ll Never Achieve Perfection (And What to Aim for Instead)

Some people see perfection as a badge of honour; a cross to bear that they just have to carry the burden of.

They use it as their biggest weakness in a job interview, as if wanting everything you create to be flawless is even possible.

But it’s not.

Perfection should be treated like a snake that wants to bite you.

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Discover how to write about long-term stress in this blog post.

How to Write About Stress

In the words of Bartok from Anastasia, ‘Stress. It’s a killer.’

And it actually is.

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. And more than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

Chronic stress can affect your brain, suppress your thyroid, cause blood sugar imbalances, decrease bone density and muscle tissue, raise blood pressure, reduce your immunity and ability to heal, and increase fat deposits around your abdomen that are associated with heart attacks, strokes and elevated “bad” cholesterol.

Source: Miami Herald

Short-term stress can help us to achieve our goals and is the reason many of us work well under pressure.

Long-term stress, meanwhile, can affect our physical and mental health temporarily and permanently.

Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

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Find out how to write about ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

How to Write About ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Remember that kid in class that could never sit still and was forever getting told off?

Some kids were forever in detention because they just wouldn’t do what they were told.

Some got off (seemingly lightly) because they’d been diagnosed with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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How to write anxiety

How to Write Anxiety

Anxiety is a cruel creature that can take over your life without you even realising it.

It can control everything from your day-to-day decisions to your career paths to your relationship choices.

And if you don’t know you suffer from it, it’s impossible to control.

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How Do You Know When Your Book is Ready?

First off, do you mean ready for an editor/beta readers, or ready for self-publication/submitting to agents?

They are all VERY different things.

Having published two books, sent a third off to beta readers (more on that soon), and studied Creative Writing, I’ve had to get good at knowing when my work is ready to share with people.

Sometimes it’s a case of the book is ready, but you’re not.

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Should you go indie or publish your book traditionally? Here's some of the differences.

Indie Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

There comes a point in an author’s life where they have to make a decision. It’s a decision that we barely had five years ago, and ten years ago didn’t exist at all. But, just as iTunes and Spotify changed the music industry, the likes of Kindle and Kobo have changed the publishing industry forever.

Self publishing (sometimes called indie publishing, although some people insist they’re different things) cuts out the agent and the publisher. Most of the profits go to the author. With the case of Kindle, that’s 35% (if you charge less than £1.99), or 70% (if you charge more than that). The rest goes to Amazon.

When you compare that to how much authors get from traditional publishing—an advance of a few thousand, and royalty payments of as little as 7.5%—self publishing is tempting.

But is it worth it?

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Discover how to write sarcasm.

How to Write Sarcasm

Ignore what they say—sarcasm isn’t the lowest form of wit. It’s also not the highest form of intelligence (sorry). But it is fun. It doesn’t always translate well into writing, though.

My characters use sarcasm A LOT. Why? Because they take after my friends and I. Some of us use it occasionally while others use it hourly.

And, since we’re millennials, most of our communication is done digitally. That means that understanding when the person is being sarcastic and when they’re being sincere is crucial. Some of this comes from being friends and having known each other a long time, but not always.

In the digital age emojis can make it easier to get the right tone across, but how do you write sarcasm that comes across as sarcasm and not you being an arse without using emojis?

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