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July 2013

"Quantity gives experience, experience gives quality"

In Zen in the Art of Writing Ray Bradbury says this: An athlete may run ten thousand miles in order to prepare for one hundred yards. Quantity gives experience. From experience alone can quality come. What I really like about this is that it runs counter to the idea which is implicit - or explicit - in so many people's ideas about how creative work happens, perhaps because it's implicit in so much of the modern, capitalist West, at least: that the better and cleverer you are, the more quickly and efficiently you should be able to reach your goal.... Read more →


Postiversary Competition Third Prize Winner: Where Do You Get Your Ideas From, by Sophie Jonas-Hill

Congratulations to Sophie Jonas-Hill for this delightful post, which won third prize in the This Itch of Writing 500th Postiversary Competition. Sophie wins a two-night writers' retreat at Retreats for You in Sheepwash, North Devon, where full board and friendly writerly company come as standard, and total silence and lunch-on-a-tray are offered with equal generosity. What I loved about this post is that it takes a classic question which we're all very familiar with, and finds a way to express it freshly, and practically. And I always love connections between different kinds of creativity: so often they illuminate each other.... Read more →


Writing, writing, writing

I'm spending a few days in Devon, at Retreats for You, having a nice rest from the WIP by tackling a short piece I've been wanting to write for ages. So I apologise for the lack of a post, and when I get home I'll be putting up the next winner of the 500th Postiversary Competition. Meanwhile, this photo is what it was like down on the river-path at 7.30 this morning. It's also rather symbolic of how this new project feels at the moment. I'm about to go and get some fresh milk and banana bread from downstairs, and... Read more →


Postiversary Competition Second Prize Winner: Loving, Hating and Writer's Block, by Anne Goodwin

Congratulations to Anne Goodwin for this terrific post, which won second prize in the This Itch of Writing 500th Postiversary Competition. Anne wins a year's free Full Membership of WriteWords, Full Membership of WriteWords, which apart from anything else in the way of Groups, Jobs&Opps, Directory and so on, is the place that about 50% of all my posts here started out, as thinking-aloud-in-the-forum. What I love about Anne's post is that she acknowledges both ends of the spectrum of what gets said about writer's block, and then unpicks what's really going on, from both her own experience, and one... Read more →


Good versus Garbage: which is your writing today?

A while ago, on a forum, the question came up of the mood-swings that most writers suffer about their writing: sometimes it seems as if the shift is always towards the negative, from the satisfaction of having written something which says what you want to say, means what you want it to mean, towards the realisation that it doesn't, really, do either of those things very well. And what's more it's clichéd, badly punctuated, unsaleably odd and drearily conformist... These days we're less inclined to tear up manuscripts in a rage - tearing up laptops comes expensive - but the... Read more →


Postiversary Competition First Prize Winner: Seeming & Thinking, by Esther Saxey

Congratulations to Esther Saxey for this fantastic post, which has won her First Prize in the This Itch of Writing 500th Postiversary Competition. Esther wins a free Quick read of 5,000 words, synopsis and covering letter, from Writer's Workshop. What I love about Esther's piece is how she's thinking about craft, in the sense that I use the term: the business of what's going at the interface between imagination and technique. It's craft that makes what you want to say into something the reader can and will and will want to read. And Esther made me laugh, which I'm always... Read more →


And the Winners of the Itch of Writing 500th Postiversary Competition are...

I was so thrilled to have so many great entries for This Itch of Writing's 500th Postiversary Competition. It was terribly difficult to chose, (as well as terribly difficult to find enough time to choose carefully), between so many posts which made me laugh, and think, and gave me so much insight into how other writers think and feel. It's the readers who make this blog what it is, and it's lovely to know that y'all are as fascinated as I am with the whole business of how writing happens. So thank you hugely to everyone for entering, and another... Read more →