Blog Archives

How do you know when you’re finished writing?

It’s always difficult to judge exactly when a piece of writing is finished. You’ll know when it’s reached that ‘just about good enough’ stage – all the right facts are in place, and it’s got the look of a coherent

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Noun and verb confusion

I’ve seen lots of blog posts and articles talking about commonly-confused nouns and verbs, and explaining the difference between, for example, ‘advice’ and ‘advise’. But to me there’s another angle that’s just as important. As writers, we need to think

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Peak hipster? The Qwerkywriter

I’ve blogged before about the Freewrite, a too-expensive word processor. That seemed, at the time, to be a peak of a particular kind of fashion, removing functions from devices to recapture the mojo of olde worlde typewriters. It’s now been

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The new rules for good writing?

There’s an interesting article by Sam Leith in today’s Guardian newspaper, grandly titled ‘The new rules for good writing in the 21st century’, with just a touch of hubris. I don’t agree with everything in the article, but there’s plenty of

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Semicolons: hero or zero?

It’s time for a showdown on the semicolon. In the blue corner, we have those who see semicolons as the devil’s work: indecisive and pretentious, according to Guy Bergstrom. In the red corner, many others hail them as the shining

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One thought per paragraph

It’s a writing tip I’ve alluded to in this blog before, but I realise I’ve never actually covered it properly: a great way to structure your writing is to stick to one idea per paragraph. Make a statement or a

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The e-ink laptop

I’m writing this post outside in the sunshine. Lovely environment to work in, except I can hardly see the screen. But e-ink displays, such as on Amazon’s Kindle, are far easier to read in bright light. They’ve been around for

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Revisiting the Freewrite

A few years ago, I blogged about the Astrohaus Freewrite (formerly the Hemingwrite). It’s a bare-bones, distraction-free word processor – great concept, but how is it in practice? I’ve kept an eye on this and finally seen a real review,

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Write as you speak

It’s a well-known piece of advice: write as though you were talking to someone you know, in the pub (or informal setting of your choice). But how can you actually do this? I was recently helping someone create a presentation,

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Predicting the future

This week, I’ve coincidentally had several different conversations about the future of machine translation. Google Translate is already amazing – check out its real-time audio translation, or how it uses augmented reality to replace words in a menu or road

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