Another pictureless post. What’s getting into me?
Simon at Freelance Unbound has tagged me to do a writing meme. And why not? I should be weeding or harvesting, or something else useful, and this gives me a splendid opportunity to procrastinate.
So here goes:
Which words do you use too much in your writing?
“Shit”, “fuck” etc. Profanity springs far, far too easily to my keyboard (and my lips). But I’m afraid I forgive myself. It just doesn’t seem as heinous to me as the world around me insists it is. It’s just syllables; sound and fury signifying nothing.
Which words do you consider overused in stuff you read?
“However” (usually redundant), “very” (always redundant)
What’s your favourite piece of writing by you?
None of it. I am dissatisfied with everything I write. The feeling intensifies with perspective. Anything I wrote more than about a month ago makes me cringe.
What blog post do you wish you’d written?
Clay Shirky’s inspired post about newspapers and the internet. For me, an epiphanic moment of total clarity.
Regrets, do you have a few? Is there anything you wish you hadn’t written?
I’ve written endless shite to pay bills. Regrets? No, none (none professional, anyway). We’ve all got to live, and nothing I’ve written has been damaging or hurtful in any significant way. I’d be happy with that epitaph.
How has your writing made a difference?
It hasn’t – at least, not as far as I’m aware. And I challenge the implication that it should have. I’m a writer, not a fucking artist.
Name three favourite words
“Luckless”, “hapless”, “egregious”
…And three words you’re not so keen on
“Proactive”, “progressive” (as used by politicians and Guardianistas), “implement”
Do you have a writing mentor, role model or inspiration?
Bill Bryson is a writer’s writer. Beautiful sentence construction and comic timing. The late lamented James Herriot was a favourite of my childhood. Shamelessly hokey, of course, but (like Anthony Hopkins) I like hokey. And his dialogue is brilliantly rendered. You can hear his characters’ tone and idiom.
What’s your writing ambition?
I like the Hippocratic Oath: Primum non nocere. Second, pay the bills.
Plug alert! List any work you would like to tell your readers about:
Humanities grads (or indeed anybody without a real science background) must, must, must read “Bad Science” and get familiar with Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science website. You’ll never know how much embarrassing shit you’re writing/thinking/talking until you do.
Here are my nominations for pro or semi-pro writers to take part: