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Updates, requests and a spot of advice

September 19, 2010

In July I announced that Write Anything was going to be changing. I also announced that we would re-launch on October 4th.

I didn’t lie about that; certainly we intended to launch on that date. Sadly, plans change. Some circumstances were within our control, that we ought to have dealt with. Others came as a complete surprise, and completely derailed the best laid plans.

This week the Write Anything team received an email to say that we had been included in a “Top 25 creative writing blogs for students” list (even if they did get the site name wrong!). Over the coming year we hope to feature in many more “Best of” lists; that’s one of the reasons for the re-launch.

The re-launch will be going ahead, just not as soon as I had originally indicated. This means that there is still time for you to get in touch if you want to become a columnist. Published or unpublished, rookie or veteran, whatever your genre we can give you a home and a voice. Just send an email to paul [at] emergent-publishing [dot] com with your name, your genre(s) and your website if you have one, and whether you’d like to be a regular columnist or a guest columnist.

More on the re-launch as we finalise dates.

I’d also like to say a huge thank you to everyone for the feedback about last week’s column. It wasn’t easy to write, so the support you have shown me has been touching. In this past week events have taken place that have threatened to send me spiralling back into a very dark place. Thankfully with the support of my ever-patient wife, my family and my friends an equilibrium has been achieved.

I can’t really go into what has happened publicly for legal reasons. However something about the experience has some application to the craft of writing, and it is this: never send off your first draft. Your first draft is never good enough.

For example, you may write the phrase “you are a lying sack of s***, a worthless human being and I will pursue you to the ends of the earth and make you suffer”, when what you really meant was “I believe your assessment of the situation is incorrect, and I reserve my right to take further legal action”.

The former may more accurately capture your mood and your intent, but the latter is more useful when making your case.

So too with writing. A first draft may capture raw and unpolished emotion, but that is precisely what it is; raw and unpolished. Plot holes, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, contradictions and a host of other errors sneak into a first draft, and wind up detracting from what you have to say.

So no matter how pleased you may be with your first draft, sit on it for at least 24 hours, then return to it. You’ll easily spot what can be better said and, crucially, what is best left unsaid.

To any late entrants, do give a reason if sending a column, unless normally timid.

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