Finding your voice

May 8, 2008

I picked up a book when I was in Vancouver called ‘Writing from the Body’ by John Lee. It leapt off the shelf at me, and despite being way over the weight limit already, I added it to the pile. I have just finished and know why the universe made me buy it. For the same reason that you need to own it too. This book will encourage, inspire and empower you to write from your gut, from your soul, from your heart and to write what resonates most with you so that, in turn, it resonates with your reader. Not only does it give advice on how you can develop the confidence to do this, but it has exercises too, examples of fine writing and leaves no stone unturned in its quest to set you and your voice free. Buy it!


I often tell my students that their books and articles can be enhanced by quotes from experts. Expert opinions can endorse your opinions. So, say you want to write about how depressed you get in the winter and how you think that is because the sky can be so grey at that time of year.

You can say it. And that’s your opinion. OR you can say it and then follow that with a quote from an expert, like this:

‘Lack of sun and daylight have been proven to make people feel down in the winter. It is always worst in the Northern Hemisphere,’ says Jim Spring, speaking on climate matters as the Climate 08 conference in Denver last month.

When I go to a conference I always take lots of notes, but only write down, in full, the best quotations I hear so that I can use them in my writing work later. Like in the example above, I always ensure that I make a note of the source of the expert opinion. Without that it is worthless. So that means I note the name of the expert and when and where they said what they said.

Why don’t you try quote-spotting next time you are at an event like this?

I write a lot about expat issues and on Monday I go to Families in Global Transition in Houston. I shall take plenty of paper with me, I can tell you!

If you are looking at this blog then there is a good chance you write, or design or specialise in something connected to the world of writing and publishing. Just a few days ago, Katie Kirk of Freelancers UK received my November Inspirer newsletter. she so loved my writing tips that she has published it on her website here.

If you are a freelancer based in the UK then you need to consider joining this site along with a few thousand others. Right now there are 120 jobs posted. And if you need a job doing, you can post those too, regardless of where you live. Take a look now.

Like Leslie Ann, in the previous blog entry, Ron van der Krol attended a workshop then booked in for some Book Cooks’ consultancy. After just one session he knew exactly what to do and ‘Native English for Nederlanders’ was published just last month. To find out more go to the website of the Dutch equivalent of the Financial Times here.

Well done Ron

I was overjoyed to hear that American Leslie Ann Bosher, who has attended Jo’s Release the Book Within class and later became a client of The Book Cooks, had her hilarious and insightful account of her life in rural England published by Murdoch Books. To The Manor Drawn tells of how Leslie Ann and her husband, Bill, bought an apartment in a stately home in Rutland and learned the thrills of barrel-rolling, welly wanging, conkers and shove ha’penny. To find out more please go to the Murdoch site here.

Well done Leslie Ann

I have just heard of a great site called Expert Sources. Here you can either find an expert to comment on a given topic – very useful if you are a journalist, or you can register as an expert and the journos contact you. Cool, eh?

I went to sign up right away – yes, there is a fee – but it was UK only. So, I contacted them and had a little moan and now, less than a week later the service is open to anyone, anywhere.

See you there.


Get out of the slush pile

September 11, 2007

A great new initiative has begun that brings willing readers together with keen writers and gets those new manuscripts on their way out of the slushpile – that is if they are good enough! The idea is that, writers can submit their manuscripts and then real life readers can comment on them. It sounds like this is a great way to get valuable feedback! So take a look at slushpilereader now.

It sounds to me like a great way to be part of the discovery of the next JK Rowling.