The writing pages

If you follow a link or two, from the menu on the sidebar, you'll see some examples of my writing on the poetry, short story and travel writing pages. Just one piece on each page, and I'll change them from time to time. This will give you a flavour of my writing. If you want to know more about what I write, and where it's published, do contact me.

Sorry - there are some things you will not find here:

Why no advice? After all, I've have published a book? Every other writer seems to overflow advice.

Yes, I've published a book. (Even, many years ago, via the traditional method - this was a study of play therapy methods that Blackwell Scientific launched in 1998. Such a long time ago. We need different lessons now.)

There are numerous other sites to help you if that is what you need, and I feel I'm wallowing in the learning-bog along with many of you. If it's writing advice you need, then there are others far more qualified than I to give it.

However, I'll offer a word or two on how I go about travel writing, since I've done it a few times now.

How I go about travel writing

I want to stress, before I go any further, than I can only tell you what works for me. It may or may not work for you. If it doesn't - please let me know how you tackle travel writing. Your ideas may be much better than mine.

While I'm away, I write all the time. Well, not every minute - but every time I sit down. In cafes, at bus stations, in my room when I wake up and before I go to sleep. I write about what I see, what I think, and how I feel. Some notes are trivial (I've never included the colour of hotel rooms walls in my books but have a record of them all; it's part of my process of noticing everything). Other notes are personally reflective (along the 'what do I think I'm doing here?' lines). Alongside these are accounts of everyone I meet, or places I visit.

One school A5 exercise books lasts me about 2-3 weeks. So I come home at the end of a month away with almost two full books of hand-written scrawl, and no idea how to sift the stories from the dross.

I begin by transcribing all of it onto the computer. It's tedious, but I'm often jetlagged so it gives me something useful to do while that wears off. And, in the process of transcribing, the themes of my trip gradually become clear.

Next, I leave things simmering for a week or two. This gives me time to allow themes to sort themselves out without me nagging at them. (We could get all theoretical and talk about unconscious processes here. Let's not. Let's keep to the simmering metaphor.)

Lastly, I can begin to shape a book. This is, in some ways, the easiest bit. For a start, I don't have to make anything up. The stories are there, and all they need is holding together in some way.

And finally the editing - the reshaping and polishing and general titivating.

That works for me. How is it for you?

And if you wonder how the end results shapes up, there is an example on the travel writing page, or you can follow links on the books page.