Writing

How to optimise your website

These days, it’s widely accepted that if you want business success, you need an online presence.  And it seems businesses have no issue with paying out a few thousand pounds to have their website designed by professionals, all of whom, it seems, promise their clients a Page One Google ranking.  But you don’t have to be a mathematician to work out that not every website designed by a professional (no matter how good they are) can make the page one ranking.  Or even page three for that matter. 

And it should be blindingly obvious that people visit websites because they are hungry for information, answers and solutions.  Not just to look at pretty graphics. Sadly, all too often, this seems to be overlooked.  Sometimes I could literally weep with frustration at a business’s inability to recognise the value of great content.  It is gob-smackingly short-sighted.

You may be able to create an all-singing, all-dancing website with navigation as intelligent as a map of the London Underground and functionality as efficient as Read more

Writing

10 ways to overcome writer’s block

Whether you’re an aspiring blockbuster novelist, a features journalist, or simply have an essay to complete for a university project, most of us will be affected by writer’s block at some point in our lives.  Symptoms can range from mild frustration (and lots of tutting) to full-blown panic (and lots of swearing) when faced with an urgent, non-negotiable deadline. 

The good news is there are many simple techniques that can help get your creative juices flowing again.  And many of them really work.  Trust me, I use them.  Regularly.  The key is to experiment, find the technique that works best for you and then not to panic the next time the black fog descends.  Because nothing is more debilitating to a writer than fear of failure.  Instead, accept that like an overwrought and uncooperative toddler, your brain simply needs a short period of time out.  A change of scene.  Note, this is an important part of the creative process and not to be confused with skiving.  Look at it as one of the perks of the job.   

So, here are my own top 10 tips for activities that will help in overcoming writer’s block.  If you’re really up against it, some can be completed in just a couple of minutes.  Although, of course, if you have the time and money to slip off to the Caribbean for a couple of weeks, that might just do the trick too… Read more

Writing

To Boldly Go… Is it okay to use bad grammar?

Whilst helping my 7 year old daughter with her literacy homework I was struck, not for the first time, by how complex the English language is.  So many rules, many of which seem to have no logical provenance.  And many of which I am regularly in breach of, even though I write for a living.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a stickler for good grammar and I have my standards: get a text from me and it will be fully punctuated and noticeably absent of acronyms.  And nothing gets my goat more than bad spelling.  Yet, unlike my 75 year old father, who would rather gouge his own eyeballs out with a blunt spoon than split an infinitive, I believe that to be a truly great writer, it’s essential to Read more