The Writer's Cookbook

Writing, productivity, publishing.

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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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Download your copy of Productivity for Writers today!

Productivity for Writers is out now!

I first announced Productivity for Writers back in January 2016.

SO MUCH has happened since then.

I decided to make Productivity for Writers my third book because I wanted a break from the world of Hollie and Fayth.

I also chose it because, out of all of my other books, it was the one that was furthest along.

Had I not announced it so long ago, I may have waited a little longer to release it. I might’ve waited until I’d released a couple more books. Or I may have put it off indefinitely.

Productivity for Writers was the hardest book I’ve written so far.

It pushed me very far out of my comfort zone.

Of course, I’m always uncomfortable when sharing my writing with you, but I’ve gotten used to that feeling, both on this blog and with the adventures of Hollie and Fayth.

The difference is that I’ve never published a nonfiction book before.

It’s a whole different market, and I have no idea what to expect.

That’s both a terrifying and exciting process.

Like I advise in Productivity for Writers—and like I learnt while working on What Happens in New York—I’m trying to channel my anxiety into excitement and getting shit done, but quite often that’s easier said than done.

However, forcing my way through the anxiety and using it to drive me instead of destroy me works. And it feels pretty good knowing that I’m one step closer to controlling my anxiety, too.

Use the nervous energy your anxiety creates to drive you instead of destroy you. Click To Tweet

What’s Productivity for Writers all about?

I wrote Productivity for Writers for my younger self.

It’s everything I wish I could’ve told myself five years ago, back when I was in a dark, desolate place.

It’s everything I wish I could tell my friends who don’t feel they have the time to write.

It’s everything I wish I could’ve told Boyfriend’s coworker who was so depressed that he didn’t save a single word that he wrote. Ever.

Whether you can’t write because you’re short on time, you don’t feel that your writing is good enough, or your mental illness interferes with your writing, Productivity for Writers can help.

However, Productivity for Writers won’t work for you if you’re not ready to listen.

Good advice is only good advice if you're willing to listen. Click To Tweet

Many of us buy nonfiction books and think that they’ll offer us some form of enlightenment, but then we read them and don’t think that the lessons in them apply to us. We don’t do the activities in the books, or we read them with a fixed mindset and don’t consider their advice.

If that’s you, then Productivity for Writers can’t help you.

You have to be willing to change.

You have to want to write more.

You have to be willing to make sacrifices.

You have to want to put your writing above all else.

You have to give the book’s advice a chance. A proper chance, not a half-arse one.

Only then will you know if this is the book for you.

Is Productivity for Writers the book for you?

Productivity for Writers won’t hold your hand.

It won’t pussyfoot around what’s stopping you from writing.

It’s a tough-love guide.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll already have a feel for my writing style.

I’m here to be honest with you about my struggles, and about the issues you may encounter, too.

And I’m not going to sugarcoat the solutions to those problems.

You won’t get anywhere fast by tiptoeing around solutions.

You’ll achieve your dreams faster by accepting that you have a problem, and actively seeking a solution.

To get to what we want in life, we have to be willing to make sacrifices.

We have to be willing to put our goals and our dreams above all else.

That’s the only way.

And if you’re not hurting anyone else in the process, then why shouldn’t you?

Download your copy of Productivity for Writers today!

You can download your copy of Productivity for Writers now on Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and more. (If you click the link it will take you to all of the platforms where it’s available 🙂 )

You can also check out some excerpts on the blog:

I don’t have a print version planned right now, but if enough people request one, I may change my mind.

Happy writing!

Reading actively makes you a better writer faster. Here's how.

5 Tips to Help You Read More Actively

If writing is the weightlifting, then reading is the protein that builds the muscle.

The best writers are the most avid readers.

Reading for pleasure allows us to subconsciously pick up on the ingredients for a successful story.

When we read actively, though, we pick up on those ingredients faster and can therefore improve our writing faster too.

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What will Brexit mean for the publishing industry?

How Will Brexit Affect Publishing?

It’s been over a year since the UK voted to leave the EU in the EU Referendum, and we still don’t know what that means for any of us.

We have no idea how it will affect the Brits, the Europeans, or those further afield.

So far all we really know is that it means we have less money to spend abroad.

Ever since the UK voted to leave the EU, the value of the British pound has been under $1.30.

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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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Writing helps me to deal with my depression.

How Writing Helps Me Handle My Depression

I never used to talk about my depression much. When I first wrote a draft of this post—back in October 2015!—there was only one person I discussed it with.

Since then, I’ve tried to be more open about my experiences in the hopes that it helps other people, too.

It’s not easy, though.

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Find out why multitasking is a myth and what you should be doing instead.

Why Effective Multitasking is a Myth

They say that women are better at multitasking. Who this ‘they’ is, I’m not sure, but they shouldn’t be encouraging women—or men—to multitask.

Multitasking isn’t good for productivity. It’s terrible for it.

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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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Find out why you need to embrace rejection in this exclusive excerpt from Productivity for Writers.

Why You Need to Embrace Rejection

There isn’t a single published writer out there who hasn’t been rejected at least once.

In fact, I think you’d struggle to find a writer who’s only been rejected once.

Even Stephen King had short stories rejected when he first started out.

Harry Potter was rejected by numerous publishers, and J.K.Rowling had some pretty harshly-worded rejection letters for her Cormoran Strike novels, too.

Some authors get to the point where their name alone is enough to attract the attention of a publisher.

To get to that point, though, you have to go through what feels like endless rejections.

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Find out why it's important for blogs of all sizes to embrace HTTPS.

Why Do Blogs Need HTTPS?

I spent my days surrounded by software developers.

In my day job, I work as a content marketer for Cronofy.

Our security features are important to us and our customers, and it’s one of our biggest selling points.

(I’m not going to go on about them here, but feel free to have a read if you like calendars.)

When I get home, I spend my time with Boyfriend, who also happens to be a software developer, albeit for a different software company…

…in the same building.

But that’s besides the point.

The point is that spending time around developers means that I’m involved in lots of techy conversations and I read a lot of security-focused content.

If you’ve ever found yourself pissed off by something auto-updating, you’ve found yourself caught out by a security update.

But please, don’t turn auto-updates off!

Auto-updates are crucial to keeping your devices protected from nasty viruses that can harm your computer. (WannaCry, anyone?)

But how can you protect your website?

And how can you protect the users of your website?

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