Have Your Words Heard


July 28th, 2023 • 4 min read

The Mid-Summer Effects on Writers

The Sizzling Inspiration of Mid-Summer: How It Fires Up Writers! - by C.S.

Hello there, fellow wordsmiths and literary enthusiasts! As the sun reaches its zenith and the temperatures skyrocket, we thought it would be the perfect time to explore the intriguing effects of mid-summer on writers. Whether you're a seasoned novelist, a budding poet, or just a passionate journal-keeper, you might be surprised to learn how the summer heat can ignite creativity and bring a unique flavor to your writing. So, let's dive deep into this scorching topic and explore the sizzling inspiration that mid-summer brings to the world of words.

  1. A Change of Scenery: In the heart of summer, nature embraces its vibrant colors and comes alive with beauty. From lush green parks to sparkling blue waters, the outdoors become an endless source of inspiration. Writers can escape the confines of their desks and venture into the great outdoors, immersing themselves in the sights, sounds, and smells of summer. Whether you find yourself scribbling away under the shade of a tree or soaking in the golden rays at the beach, this change of scenery can invigorate your creativity and infuse your writing with a fresh perspective.

  2. Tapping into the Energy: The long days and balmy nights of mid-summer bring forth an undeniable energy that's infectious. The buzzing streets, bustling cafes, and lively festivals all contribute to a vibrant atmosphere that writers can't help but absorb. This heightened energy can trickle into your writing, injecting it with a sense of urgency, passion, and excitement. So don't be surprised if your characters become a little more animated or your prose gains an extra spark during these warm summer months.

  3. The Melting Pot of Emotions: Ah, summer, the season of love, adventure, and self-discovery! Mid-summer is a time when emotions run high and inhibitions melt away. Relationships are formed, hearts are broken, and life takes unexpected turns. As writers, we have the privilege of capturing these whirlwinds of emotions and weaving them into our stories. So, take advantage of the summer heat and let your characters experience love, heartbreak, and personal growth. The mid-summer setting can enhance the authenticity of these emotional journeys and make your readers feel like they're right there with your characters, basking in the heat of the moment.

  4. Embracing Slow Living: While summer may be filled with excitement and adventure, it also encourages us to slow down and savor the present moment. The lazy afternoons spent lounging in hammocks, the leisurely walks on warm summer evenings, and the late nights under starlit skies all invite writers to embrace the art of slow living. Take this opportunity to observe the world around you and soak in the details that often go unnoticed. From the delicate whispers of a warm breeze to the rhythmic chirping of crickets, these subtle nuances can add depth and richness to your writing, allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in your stories.

As the summer sun casts its golden glow upon us, writers everywhere have the chance to harness the unique inspiration that mid-summer brings. Whether it's through exploring new places, absorbing the vibrant energy, capturing the emotions of the season, or embracing the art of slow living, this time of year holds endless possibilities for igniting your creativity. So, fellow writers, go out there, bask in the summer heat, and let it infuse your writing with a touch of magic.

Stay inspired and keep those pens blazing just like summer! Then, show us what you've done!

(Note: While mid-summer can be a delightful source of inspiration, it's important to remember that creativity varies from person to person. So, if the summer heat isn't your cup of tea, fear not. Inspiration can be found in every season and in the most unexpected moments.)

April 5th, 2023 • 9 min read

Just What is the 'Write' Routine?

(Previously appeared in the newsletter by Famous Writing Routines)

Welcome to this edition of The Weekly Writing Dispatch, where we are delighted to welcome esteemed American journalist, author, and screenwriter, Matt Bai.

With an impressive background covering politics for major news outlets such as The New York Times and Yahoo News, Matt has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of political journalism. In this interview, he discusses his book All The Truth Is Out, which explores the week politics went tabloid and its effects on American politics and media. He also shares his insights on the evolving relationship between politics and media and the process of co-writing the screenplay for The Front Runner, based on his book.

We hope that this interview will not only offer valuable insights into the creative process but also encourage readers to explore their own writing and connect with the literary community. So sit back, relax, and join us as we dive deep into the mind of one of America's most accomplished political writers.

Hi Matt, welcome to Famous Writing Routines, great to have you here with us today! Your 2015 book, All The Truth Is Out, explores the week politics went tabloid. Can you tell us more about the inspiration for this book and how you went about researching and writing it?

I’m honored to be asked, so thanks for having me. I think your site is very cool.

Sometimes you don’t choose stories so much as they choose you, if that makes any sense. I met Gary Hart twenty years ago now, and the few days I spent with him then really stayed with me, especially as I watched our political culture deteriorate. I became convinced there was a connection to be made there, something more that needed to be said. It became a kind of obsession. I sat with the idea for several years, but I probably wrote it in eight months.

What do you think were the long-lasting effects of the Hart affair on American politics and media?

The book ended up being a critique of my own industry, but I didn’t realize that until I was finished. I feel like that moment in 1987 was a turning point for political journalism — it’s when we started treating our politicians more like celebrities. And if you treat politicians like celebrities, you will inevitably get celebrities as politicians. That was my central point, and of course I never imagined how literally that would come to pass with Donald Trump.

In your opinion, how do you see the relationship between politics and media evolving in the future?

Well, that’s more clairvoyance than opinion, and I’m not a very good clairvoyant. Right now I feel like it’s very broken — I used to spend tons of time with politicians, and I don’t think any reporter can really do that anymore. I also feel like they flat out lie more often than they used to. It’s really up to the voters to decide whether that’s something they care about.

You co-wrote the screenplay for The Front Runner which is based on the book. Can you tell us more about that process? How did it feel to see your work adapted into a feature film starring a major Hollywood actor like Hugh Jackman?

That was really one of the great experiences of my life. “Magical” is the word that comes to mind. Hugh is an amazing person and actor, and Jason Reitman became a good friend and taught me a ton about screenwriting. Everyone associated with the film had a blast making it.

It’s a shame that very few people saw the picture, or even knew about it, but commercial success is something you just can’t control, in books or movies or any kind of writing. I always recommend the film to people because I think it’s excellent and one of Hugh’s best performances.

Your work often explores the intersection of politics and culture. How do you think these two areas of our lives influence one another, and why is it important to examine that relationship?

That’s true. We tend to describe our politicians as leaders, but actually they’re followers, and that’s by design. Our government is designed to be responsive to the mood of the people — however the country is changing, Washington is almost always the last to reflect it. So if you want to know where politics is headed, you need to understand the trends in business and technology and entertainment. I try to connect all that.

You currently write a column for The Washington Post. How do you decide what topics to write about each week, and how do you approach writing about political issues in a way that’s accessible to a broad audience?

Most often I see something in the news and it jars a thought or a memory, and an argument takes shape. Sometimes my editors will have a topic they’d like me to think about, which I like. I’ve always written about politics — in magazines or books or columns — as if I were speaking to a friend, someone with a genuinely open mind who wants to wrestle with the complexity of an issue, as I do. I know a lot of columnists now make their living preaching to the same choir over and over. Honestly, that would bore the crap out of me.

In addition to your work as a journalist and author, you’re also a screenwriter. How do you think writing for the screen differs from other forms of writing, and what do you enjoy about the process of writing for film?

I never really aspired to be a screenwriter, but now I love it. It’s incredibly fun as a writer to be able to learn a new format and get better at it. And I enjoy being untethered from reality for a change. Plus you don’t get to write sex scenes in a column.

As a seasoned journalist and author, what advice would you give to aspiring writers and journalists looking to make an impact in the industry?

I think that’s a way of saying I’m old? I actually struggle with this question. The economic models have changed so much that I just don’t understand how people get started in the business now. How do you teach people to be reporters when there aren’t any small papers? How do they learn to be great writers when “longform” can be 500 words? I think if I were starting out now, I’d be laser focused on finding a talented editor who could help me refine my skills. Where you write is less important than for whom you write. The craft doesn’t teach itself.

Can you tell us about your writing routine? What does a typical day look like for you?

One of the things I love about my current existence is that there is no typical day. Some days I’m a columnist. Some days I’m a screenwriter. Some days I’m driving my kids to sports or the doctor. Today I answered reader mail and talked with my Post editor about a long essay I’m finishing, and then I worked with my producer on a movie pitch we’re doing, and now I’m talking to you. Pretty great, right?

My writing routines changed when we adopted a puppy during the pandemic. Now I spend mornings at the dog park, and then I eat breakfast and read the papers and do the Times crossword, and then I’m pretty much using the rest of the morning to organize my thoughts and exercise. Afternoon is when I’m usually cranking away on something. Most writing happens in your head, anyway, and not on the page, so even when I’m walking my dog, I’m getting work done.

If you could have a conversation with any author throughout history about their writing routine and creative process, who would that person be?

Probably Bob Dylan. He’s the famous person I haven’t met whom I’d most like to meet (followed closely by Derek Jeter). I’m just fascinated by how that kind of genius operates. Like, is he sitting at his kitchen counter and suddenly “Tangled Up in Blue” pops into his head? Or is he fiddling with a melody and then has to find a story for it? I think such a large part of creativity is just learning to clear your head long enough for the words or ideas to make themselves heard.

I’d love to know about the books you’re reading at the moment. What have been some of your favorite recent reads?

I recently read Ian McEwan’s Lessons, which was beautiful, and I’ve got a few pages left in Andrew Sean Greer’s Less, which I’ve really enjoyed, too. In between those two, I read Bo Jackson’s autobiography from the 1990s, and I also read an advance copy of Mark Bowden’s forthcoming book, Life Sentence, which is absolutely brilliant.

Sometimes when I read something not good, it throws me out of my reading groove and I have trouble getting restarted. That’s when I reach for Haruki Murikami, who can always pull me into a story immediately. Most recently I read 1Q84, which is wild. Murikami taught at Tufts not long before I was a student there, and I really wish I’d been able to take his class, so he’s another famous writer I’d like to meet.

What does your current writing workspace look like?

I have a standing aspiration to go paperless, but I never quite get there. So my desk of the last 20 years — a Danish modern thing I bought at a consignment store in Washington — consists of a 24-inch Mac, a laptop, and some piles of paper related to various projects.

I’m also drowning in books, even though I tend to read digitally now, because people keep sending them to me. On my walls I’ve got a couple of framed New York Times Magazine covers, and the first Times crossword in which my name was an answer, and some “Front Runner” memorabilia.

My office is off the entrance to our house, and my desk faces the door, so my kids can’t slip in or out without having to say hello or goodbye, which is how I like it.

March 31st, 2023 • 4 min read

To AI or Not to AI…? Now That’s the Question

That is the question, indeed, especially these days. So, what is true about the last two articles posted here? Let’s break it down into the positives and negatives by looking at each article side by side.

  • On the plus side, the article by ChatGPT had some objective and factual points made, it was written in very little time, and at almost no cost… but overall, felt very two-dimensional. It came across as quite impersonal. It might have listed a few obvious almost mechanical, elements, but with very little soul.

  • The author’s article, on the other hand, was very personable, conversational, and intriguing. Actual examples came to life with the author’s retelling of his lived experiences. This creates for a more relatable read. We champion Victor Prince for his ability to try something deemed difficult after succeeding at challenging himself previously hiking across Spain.

Where the AI bot may shine:

  • AI can write articles at a much faster pace than humans, which can be an advantage in the fast-paced and demanding world of content creation. With AI, businesses can generate a high volume of articles or blog posts in a short amount of time, for very little cost.

  • AI-generated articles can be free from human biases and errors. Human writers are prone to making mistakes, but with AI, there is less room for error–however, it is not infallible and must be fact checked by a human and checked for plagiarism. AI can also eliminate any bias that may exist in human-written content, making it more objective and reliable.

  • Time is definitely an advantage with AI, which can analyze vast amounts of data to generate insights and different perspectives. By analyzing data from various sources, AI can identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately obvious to humans, in next to no time. This can lead to the creation of more informative and practical articles than would be humanly possible in the same amount of time.

  • AI can produce articles on a variety of topics, even those that are not commonly covered. With AI, businesses can create content on niche topics that may be hard (though not impossible) to find a human writer for.

  • AI can help reduce the costs associated with content creation. With AI, businesses can save money by not having to pay a human writer to create content.

In favour of the author:

  • AI-generated articles do lack the hallmarks of human touch and thus achieves no emotional connection with readers. Human writers can connect with readers on an emotional level, which is hard for AI to replicate. This can make AI-generated content seem stale, cold, impersonal and even robotic.

    AI cannot understand the cultural nuances and context necessary to write effectively for a particular audience. Different cultures have different ways of communicating, and AI simply cannot pick up on these nuances. This can lead to content that is just not relatable, or even interesting enough, to the target audience.

  • While AI may produce articles that are factually correct, they clearly are not as engaging or interesting to read. AI may well be able to produce informative articles, yet it fails to create content that is equally engaging or truly captures the reader's attention.

  • While it may be tempting, businesses will need to resist the urge to rely on AI-generated content instead of creative content from human writers. As businesses increasingly turn to AI for content creation in order to cut costs, they run the risk of alienating their audience if they are not careful.

  • AI-generated articles may lack the creativity and originality that human writers can bring to the table. Only human writers are able to bring their unique perspectives and experiences to their writing, which makes for lively, interesting and engaging content.

Afterall, when the reading audience is human, which it invariably always is, the skill of a creative human author tips the scale in its favour.

March 27th, 2023 • 7 min read

Article 2: Write a Business Book in 8 Steps

Victor Prince shares lessons he's learned in achieving his life goal—to write a business book— in his 40s after having it on his bucket list for years.

I’ve had the “I want to write a book some day” item on my bucket list for a long time. Then life happened, and I found myself in my 40s without a book to my name. Last week, my first book officially released, and, based on pre-sales that have put it on Amazon’s Top 10 Hot New Releases, it looks like my mother won’t be the only other person reading it.

I am writing this blog to help other aspiring authors get past the hump between “life happens” and a life goal. Here are the eight lessons that got me over the hump to put my first book out at age 40-something.

Tip #1 – Decide You Can:

Writing a business book sounds impossible; that’s why many people never try. It’s been the hardest thing I have ever done, but obviously it isn’t impossible since other people have been doing it for hundreds of years.

A key for me to get over the hump was to do something else that sounded impossible but I knew that other, seemingly ordinary, people do all the time. I stumbled on the Martin Sheen movie The Way about people walking across Spain on the ancient Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. Something clicked. A few months later, I flew to Spain with just a backpack and broken-in hiking boots. Thirty days, 500 miles and countless blisters later, I found myself in the cathedral in Santiago de Compestela celebrating with other successful pilgrims. (See my blogs about hiking the Camino.)

From that day forward, I have faced any new challenge by telling myself, “I walked across Spain, I can do that.” Writing a business book didn’t look as crazy anymore.

Even if a hike across a country isn’t for you, find something that seems slightly impossible in another area you do like and challenge yourself.

Tip #2 – Writers Write:

You may have the greatest book idea in your head, but nothing exists until you put it on paper ... or at least in pixels. When I was on the Camino, I started writing daily blogs about my adventure. When I look back on those blogs now, I smile and cringe at the same time. I cringe because my writing today is much better than it was two years ago. Like most things, writing gets better with practice. I kept writing after I got back from the Camino. I blogged and attracted few readers, but I kept blogging. Somewhere along the way, I found my writing voice. I learned to write to convey ideas to others instead of writing to demonstrate how clever I am to others. I’ve long had experiences and ideas I thought worth sharing, and by writing regularly, I developed the muscles to translate those thoughts into words on paper.

Tip #3 – Recruit a Posse: It takes a village to write a first book in your 40s, and I was lucky to have two co-pilots and a big ground crew.

First, like many aspiring authors, once I had an idea on paper, I looked for anyone else I knew who had successfully written a book to ask for their advice. Is there a book here? If so, how do I take it from an idea in my head to a business book in stores? I called an old colleague, Mike Figliuolo, who had written a successful book a few years earlier. Mike not only liked the book idea, he said, he would love to co-author it. Partnering with him was an easy, and great, decision.

My second co-pilot was someone I met while hiking the Camino—the “inspiration” I thanked in the Acknowledgments in the book. The 18 months from book idea to book release had many ups and downs. Every time I hit a low point, she pulled me up and she continues to be my biggest supporter.

Finally, my “ground crew” consisted of all my friends and family who I had told about my book idea as a forcing mechanism to make me stay the course. I acknowledged my “ground crew” in the opening of the book with these words: “To all my family and friends who asked me at some point about how ‘The Book’ was coming along—writing a first book is a lonely, uncharted trek with no guaranteed finish line. Even the smallest gestures of interest and support meant more than you realized.”

Tip #4 – Armor Up:

Publishing a book is a deeply personal experience. When you put your thoughts on paper, you are putting a piece of yourself out there for other people to criticize or, even worse, to ignore. The best advice I got was to realize that criticism, or indifference, is not about you; they are about how well you translated that piece of yourself onto paper. And that is a skill you can improve. (See Tip #2: Writers Write).

Tip #5 – Get a Deadline:

Notice I wrote, “Get a deadline” not, “Set a deadline.” The single biggest thing that moved me from aspiring author to new author was a contractually imposed deadline. Once I signed a deal with a publisher, I had to turn in a manuscript, on spec, on deadline or face consequences. The fear instinct is a powerful motivator. Use it to your advantage.

Tip #6 – Find Your Writing Place:

My home office works for my regular business, but it didn’t work for writing a book. Writing is the most intensive mental work I have ever done. I found I needed to be away from my distractions at home to focus. I also found that new locations spurred my creativity. So I ended up rotating between a few coffee houses and restaurants in my neighborhood, with a friend’s dining room table tossed in as well to keep up the momentum.

Tip #7 – 50% Authorship, 50% Other-ship:

Writing is only part of what it takes to publish a first book. To get anyone to read your book, you have to help market it. Days after I signed my book deal, the publisher sent us different options for the cover design to choose from. Once the book has a cover, Amazon and other online sellers post it for pre-orders, so you need to set up your presence as an author (and affiliate seller.)

Once you finish your manuscript, you need to start calling in favors to get big name people to write endorsements for your book cover. After you get your endorsers, you need to start working on getting blogs and other media to help get the word out about your book. And then on the day the book officially releases ...

#8 – Enlist the Village:

I don’t like asking for favors, and I hate the idea of selling stuff to my friends. But, after some good advice, I decided to ask family and friends for help with getting the word out about my first book. It was less about getting them to buy a copy of the book (although pre-orders and first week sales are the key to cracking the bestseller lists). It was more about sharing my excitement about a big life event. For a first-time author, announcing a book is somewhat like a new parent announcing a new baby. One difference: I put my first words on paper for this book about 18 months ago, so maybe I should have twin books to show for my effort today.

If you have a goal to write a business book, I hope these tips help you. If you know someone else who wants to write a book but hasn’t gotten over the hump yet, feel free to share this with them. Best of luck.

(The original version of this post appeared on LinkedIn on July 20, 2015)

March 2nd, 2023 • 4 min read

I Asked ChatGPT to Write a Column on Business Book Writing... Any Thoughts on the Result?

Writing a book for a business audience can be an excellent way to establish your expertise, enhance your credibility, and reach a wider audience. Whether you're an entrepreneur, a consultant, or a thought leader in your field, writing a book can help you showcase your ideas, insights, and strategies to potential customers, clients, and partners. In this column, we'll explore some tips and best practices for writing a book that resonates with a business audience and achieves your goals.

  1. Define your purpose and audience. The first step in writing a book for a business audience is to define your purpose and audience. Why are you writing this book? What do you hope to achieve by publishing it? Who is your target audience, and what do they care about? Answering these questions will help you shape your book's message, tone, and structure. For example, if you're writing a book to promote your consulting services, your focus may be on providing practical, actionable advice that can help businesses solve common problems. On the other hand, if you're writing a book to position yourself as a thought leader in your field, your focus may be on exploring cutting-edge ideas and trends that are shaping the future of your industry.

  2. Focus on the reader. As you write your book, keep your reader in mind at all times. What do they need to know? What questions do they have? What challenges do they face? By focusing on your reader, you'll be able to craft a book that speaks directly to their needs and interests, rather than just promoting your own agenda. To do this effectively, you may need to do some research on your target audience. Conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gather insights into their pain points, aspirations, and attitudes. This information can help you tailor your book's message to their needs and make it more relevant and engaging.

  3. Create a clear and compelling structure. To keep your reader engaged and focused, it's essential to create a clear and compelling structure for your book. This means organizing your content into logical sections and chapters, with clear headings, subheadings, and transitions. Use a strong introduction to hook your reader and establish your main theme, and conclude with a powerful summary that leaves them with a lasting impression. In addition to the structure of your book, pay attention to the tone and style of your writing. Avoid jargon and technical language that may be unfamiliar to your reader, and strive for a conversational, engaging tone that makes your ideas accessible and relatable.

  4. Provide value and insights. One of the key reasons readers turn to business books is to gain insights and learn new ideas that can help them succeed in their careers or businesses. To provide value to your readers, focus on providing practical advice, case studies, and real-world examples that demonstrate your ideas in action. Draw on your own experiences, as well as those of your clients or colleagues, to illustrate your points and make your book more engaging.

  5. Edit and proofread meticulously. Before publishing your book, make sure to edit and proofread it meticulously. Typos, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies can undermine your credibility and distract from your message. Take the time to review your work carefully, and consider hiring a professional editor or proofreader to provide a fresh perspective and ensure your book meets the highest standards of quality.

  6. Promote your book effectively. Finally, once your book is published, it's important to promote it effectively to reach your target audience. Use social media, email marketing, and other channels to get the word out about your book, and consider hosting book signings, speaking engagements, or webinars to build buzz and engage with your readers.

In addition, consider leveraging the power of reviews and endorsements to build credibility and increase your book's visibility. Reach out.

**I hope to hear your comments, which may be featured in my follow-up post. **

November 28th, 2022 • 3 min read

How to Just Write

It’s advice that is often necessary but does not always appear easy. Just write. How many times have you heard someone complain that this is useless? Or impossible? And yet it is so simple, it really is doable. What isn’t is what is added in your mind: just write perfectly; just write impressively; just write a polished manuscript in an instant. That, my dear reader, probably won’t happen.

The idea of ‘just writing’ is like freewriting exercises that can improve your creativity and increase your capacity to express yourself during regular short intervals of no more than 20 minutes. Writing whatever comes to mind without stopping until your set time is up, is a regular practice for writers and will allow you to exercise your mind ‘s ability to jump over the ‘writer’s block’. The main goal is not to get the best words out, but to write without concern for style or grammar or even being viewed by another person; the focus is on flow. You will naturally find yourself dissatisfied with what you wrote and critical of it, but it’s yours to delete, burn or keep once the exercise is done. The point being it is yours to do with what you want but is not expected to be published. Put in a drawer, forget about it, then read it again in a few days, as it may be part of a rough draft.

This method of writing has many other benefits besides the creativity and expression. For instance, it also clears the mind, resolves mental blocks that get in the way of productivity, helps in learning, memory work and absorbing new information, helps with problem solving, and even promotes planned or required writing projects–be it formal writing for work or personal, such as writing a reply to a letter, or even a business plan to secure some necessary funding.

In practice, writing helps people make sense of their thoughts and their experiences. It is a processing system people use to create a narrative or tell a story. It starts with building meaning and relatable stories first with ourselves, then others. Part of this is taking overwhelming events and breaking them down into smaller more manageable events that can then be organised towards a resolution. This is one reason why therapeutic writing has been so beneficial under supervised care, since it may spark strong emotions, or triggers. With direction, writing through these or talking through them can even be healing.

Either way, writing has been a part of the human story with the likes of scripture from your ancient faith, the 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys, the Diary of Anne Frank, right through to your modern-day social media accounts or public webpage posts. The opening up of these new channels of self-publishing has crossed over into traditional publishing, with some collections of blogs becoming books, owners becoming influencers and even thought leaders. The main common denominator is consistent writing. So ‘just write’ is not such bad advice, after all.

Connecting with a writing coach can walk you through this daunting process if it feels like writing is hard. Feel free to get a consult by getting in touch or completing this brief survey to see if a coach can help your needs.

October 29th, 2022 • 3 min read

A Ghostwriter Shouldn't Scare You

No, a ghostwriter isn't really a writer of ghost stories... unless the author being ghostwritten for happens to actually be writing about ghosts. Using a ghostwriter shouldn’t scare you. The fact is ghostwriting isn't as rare as one might think. This week, you may well have heard about one of the most recently anticipated books that has been ghostwritten. Announced by Penguin Random House, it is titled Spare: Life in the Shadows, the much-talked about tell-all memoir by Prince Harry, aka Harry Wales, Duke of Sussex.

Ghostwriting is a popular choice for those people or business owners who don't necessarily have time to write or simply may not want to write, but can certainly help supply the information, potential background research and direction of the content so that it reflects the actual vision of their desired final draft of their book.

You can expect to have regular one-on-one meetings with your ghostwriter, telephone interviews, providing them with access to diaries or personal journals, all under the strictest of confidence. They usually sign a non-disclosure contract in addition to agreeing to exchange their byline credit for a premium fee, for which they earn as they are meticulous and are exceptional at what they do. Capturing the author’s voice is often seen as a gift, as they are invested in getting it right and some find it a challenging endeavour, preferred over seeking attention. Particularly if it helps the rarer voice’s story getting told, as is paramount for Peninsula Editorial Consultancy.

It is one of the biggest parts of the ghostwriter’s skillset. One New York Times bestselling ghostwriter, Jodi Lipper, was known to have stated that many of the non-fiction books that make it on to the infamous list is ghostwritten. She is said to have quoted in Refinery29 as saying, “My brand is not having a brand. My brand is being able to capture other authors’ voices.”

Using such experienced professional writing services gives the 'author' (yes, they usually instigate the project and give the writer the focus and scope of the project) the peace of mind that ensures the creation of a page-turning, lively read.

Of the main types of ghostwriting projects, which include: memoirs or autobiographies, such as Spare; business books that can help promote a business; social media content; song writing; and speeches, most work falls under the non-fiction umbrella of writing, so it is especially important that they find a qualified and experienced writer who can do the job justice.

There are many factors that play into deciding to use a ghostwriter, from lack of time or experience in writing skills, to hiring one that did a great job and keeping the consistency of voice going. These ‘ghosts’ may be invisible–hence the moniker– but are worth their weight in gold for any celebrity, business professional or artist. No tricks here, just a treat to work with.

For more information on how a ghostwriter might help impact your business or brand, click on this linked article, What Is Ghostwriting? All About This Writing Style | Upwork or drop us a line in the chat.

October 7th, 2022 • 3 min read

'The Woman King' Intrigue

Why The Woman King has captivated Worldwide audiences.

Women with machetes get people talking. What kind of women signed up for this? How did they become so fearless? Why devote themselves to the King they never actually marry? With so many questions about the tale that unearths its foundation in history, The Woman King is more of a triumph than it lets on. Controversy, yes, it sparks it. Yet a good story can often do that. Whether the main characters were real or created, however, is not the point here. The facts are worth discussing, but so are the character's stories. When we write our own stories, we do not merely retell the history of the place we lived, but we tell the world within that history, created uniquely by our perspective. The same is true for a fictional character.

In West Africa, the Agojies* were a real tribe of 'armed women' who defended their King and the Kingdom of Dahomey (now present-day Benin) in context to how the world was around them. There also was a real King Gezo, who reigned from 1818-1858. The Nanisca character played by Viola Davis is loosely based on a real name from the region and the type of personality likely to have led the all-female army, but it is her personal story that sells the film–one of resilience, courage, dedication and commitment to her duty (think, if you will, the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth, another servant leader whose mind was on lifelong duty above all else). Her backstory unveils a dark trauma that she seemingly has yet to overcome–whether it be a stumbling block or fuel, the choice is hers.

Likewise, newcomer Thuso Mbedu, who plays new recruit Nawi, takes on another name from the era and the military job description, but her story is one of warrior-in-the-making. We see the film through her eyes and take on her stubborn, feisty personality as a better fit to be in training rather than for an arranged marriage. Her fascination for weapons in favour of homemaking duties sets us up for how well she is likely to do behind the palace walls and on the battlefield, as we watch her story develop; she's suddenly not a reject but an asset.

What scenes resonated with you as being an element of a great story? What other characters did you love and why? Drop a line in the chat or get in touch with your favourite part, as well as what your story is. Fiction or non-fiction, the world loves a story, and while we learn through this magical lens, you determine how it unfolds and the basis for telling it.

For a more in-depth look at some of the controversies that have arisen, read:

Woman King is worth watching: but be aware that its take on history is problematic (

See also Amazons of Black Sparta: The Women Warriors of Dahomey, by Stanley B. Alpern (1998).

Click here to watch The Woman King trailer.

*Also referred to as the Agoodjies.

June 4th, 2022 • 4 min read

Read the Latest LinkedIn Article for June

There won't always be signposts to where you want to go or where you end up, but know that choice is not limited to the present options–sometimes you might be the one to put up a new signpost.

Experience is Free

Published on June 13, 2022 on LinkedIn

It has been decades since I first began a career I always knew I was born to do: work with words. Surprisingly to most professional writers I have met, my first actual job was as a journalist, while I was still in secondary education, on a freelance assignment for a local cultural magazine. The job wasn't advertised, and I did not get introduced to the editor. Instead, I combined a school assignment and interviewed students about their thoughts on celebrities, such as the late-Rock Hudson, having their sexuality being outed in the news, especially after death. There were two sides of the camp, pardon the pun: those who thought it was disrespectful and those who thought it should be front page. The story eventually was spiked when the publisher decided that a story was too suburban with only one school of random interviews. I wanted to start the conversation, one that didn't eventually take place elsewhere. (I should have taken it to the weekly news magazine instead.) That experience didn't hold me back - it made me more determined to try other stories, other publications. The world didn't limit me to one local rag.

Fast forward to a local pub in the outskirts of London, where I was paid in pints to write a gig review of a small time band. It led to my first by-line and future commissioned gig reviews on the circuit, with small but regular cheques, as well as the pints. I was young, loved music and the pub atmosphere in South London was not unfamiliar to me. Yet I knew this was only the start. Before long, I was in central London gaining 'work experience' at a national weekly music magazine I knew well that wasn't hiring but was keen to have an enthusiastic volunteer shadow the editorial news-desk. Networking takes place any and everywhere, working or not - remember that.

This led me to meet an arts editor at the publishing company's premises working on a more mature music monthly and who was willing to have a look at some of my budding features ideas. I eventually earned his trust. This slightly upmarket music magazine became one of my regular pay-cheques as a film critic (again note, I changed the gears here), and I no longer needed cuttings from free papers to add to my portfolio. Although I still enjoyed being a regular arts critic, contributing actor interviews, theatre reviews in coverage. Anything I was interested in, I managed to work out a way to add it to my profile; paid or unpaid - it still helped my career up each rung in one way or another. If we look only for the paths pre-paved, we miss out on the opportunity to trail-blaze for ourselves and others.

I soon crossed from working contracts to writing and sub-editing shifts while full-time positions were competitive and my cuttings book was rather limited, but as it was always growing, it was finally making an impact. I had carved out my own career as a professional journalist familiar in all areas of publishing long before publishing became the free-for-all world it is now. Only 'the qualified' were printed, whereas now it seems the loudest of many voices is heard above the sea of others. Had I waited for an 'in' rather than creating one, my career and attitude today might be very different. As it is, I am not daunted by challenges, but excited by and rise to them. Being able to give back to my community of fellow writers by encouraging them is nothing short of icing on the cake, as my career path has always remained sweet!

April 23rd, 2022 • 6 min read

Featured Share from the CIEP Blog

Anna Cale explains how she has benefited from having her writing edited for magazines and a book on the CIEP blog.

The Perfect Partnership: The Value of Editing to an Author

As a freelance arts and culture writer, I think I am generally pretty good with words. But I also have to be professional. I always hit my word count, I submit my work to the agreed deadline and, importantly, I am open to feedback. Most of the time, anyway.

I am often too close to my work. I need someone else’s eye for detail, for spotting whether I have gone off track a little. I need a good editor. This is not something that comes easily, but I have always tried to remain open-minded and not too defensive. However, in my experience of writing articles, and then recently my first book, the role of an editor in the process has differed significantly.

Knowing your audience

When writing short-form articles for magazines, my interaction with an editor is quite limited. I pitch an idea in an email to the person who has the power (and budget) to commission. This is usually a hook that sums up the idea, with a short paragraph providing a little bit more detail of how the article would explore the idea.

If the editor says yes, then we talk terms. Once the agreed article is written, it is sent to the editor for review, and you work together to form the final piece for publication.

You need to know the publication well before pitching an idea, identifying their style and what they usually commission, to have a chance of having your article idea accepted. It is a fast-paced and competitive environment, and there is some advantage to doing your research. This also really helps when it comes to the editing process, and hopefully shortens it considerably.

Sometimes you build a good working relationship with a particular commissioning editor, and that helps to make the process easier. You can start to second-guess what they want. But turnaround can often be quick, even for monthly magazines, and you don’t actually have much opportunity to build a connection. Both sides want the process to be as quick as possible.

Becoming a book author

When it came to writing my first book, however, the entire editing process was significantly different. My copyeditor was assigned to me by the publishers once I had submitted my final manuscript. I suspect this varies as each publishing company will work differently, but in my case that meant I had no interaction with an editor until that final stage, over a year after signing my contract to write 70,000 words.

I had done my research before putting together my original proposal for the publisher. Not just on the subject matter, but on the style of book the publishers usually release. I knew I would have to tailor my style a little to their audience, without compromising my own identity as a writer.

I was always going to be very protective of my book. It had been my baby for a long time. Friends had looked at drafts at various points, and my poor husband had read the entire thing twice. There was frustration along the way, as I realised just how much I use certain phrases (I’m looking at you, ‘of course’) or made the decision to alter sections significantly. I knew it was in a decent state at the point of submission, but I still didn’t feel prepared for editing and what that would entail. It was a complete mystery to me.

I was therefore rather apprehensive about the work involved in the editing process, but my editor guided me through it. Receiving a warm and friendly introductory email from her really helped, as she told me what the next steps would be. It felt like a fog had finally lifted. She was in control of the coordination of the various iterations of editing the manuscript, and I had confidence in her approach from the start. For me, as a debut writer, this feeling of trust was invaluable.

Working together

My experience of the editing process was a positive one. It felt like a constructive working relationship built on respect, with a balance of acceptance and compromise to reach a shared goal. We both had the same thing in mind – for me to produce the best book I possibly could.

It was about respecting each other’s knowledge. I was the subject matter expert on the topic, but my editor was the expert on how to present that idea for publication. Any spelling, punctuation, formatting or grammar changes she made were a given for me. I knew my editor would be bang on with that stuff, and I accepted those changes largely unchallenged. Anything more substantial was raised with questions or suggestions. I didn’t always accept those ideas, but did explore them within the context they were given to me.

It was a long process. We navigated the journey from rather long Word document to typeset PDF, with considered discussions over how best to present the appendices, the bibliography and filmography. The index was a pain, and I realised along the way that my grasp of the alphabet was not as hot as I had previously thought.

Respectful cooperation

For me, the main thing was consistent, open dialogue and communication. My editor clearly set out the process for me from the start, but I also felt empowered to approach her with questions or concerns. I finally had someone who was there to help me navigate this strange experience of writing a book when, during the previous months of researching and writing, that link had been sadly missing.

We had a shared willingness to understand each other. I did sometimes push back – our positive and understanding relationship gave me the confidence to do that. I did not feel uncomfortable or threatened by her input. I felt comfortable asking questions when I didn’t understand a comment, and equally, my editor seemed happy asking questions when she wasn’t sure about the subject matter or significance of something. We had respect for each other, the end result was something beautiful, and I feel we created it in partnership.

*This post previously appeared on the Blog of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading.

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a UK-based non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing, sets and demonstrate editorial standards, and provides a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals.

April 8th, 2022 • 2 min read

Peninsula Posts Welcome Page

Where the Posts Live

This is the home of posts made for this website. Welcome and enjoy the read.

The content written here represents the consultancy.This will also be a place to find news about what the business is doing or planning, as well as an opportunity to engage with readers and visitors who drop by out of curiosity. A new post that provides insight to writers of all levels will appear monthly.

Some posts will share insights on how editors work, and answer reader questions.

Finally, the posts will serve to encourage writers to improve their skills through learning and exploring various methods and tips.

Stay tuned...

Check out the other posts and see what we plan to cover on this page. Over time you will learn what inspires us or keeps us motivated. You'll see that we love to cover a variety of different topics related to the job each month.

And keep writing

The next post will include a questionnaire for those who are unsure if they would benefit from a coach. Drop us a line on the contact page with the subject 'questionnaire' and we'll be sure to send it out to you as soon as it is ready.

In the meantime, do keep writing. Please use the contact form to ask a question you would like to know more about and it may featured in the next post. Happy writing.

April 7th, 2022 • 3 min read

This Editor's Bookshelf

Editors all have their distinct go-to books on their shelves, and this editor is no different. What is different are the reasons. As a way of getting to know your editor, a peek at their shelf is a little glimpse into a corner of their world. Welcome to mine.

What books have made the cut for the desk shelf?

Within hands reach are the editorial essentials: the Oxford Concise English Dictionary, Roget's Thesaurus, the Economist Style Guide, Bartholomew's Concise World Atlas, and a Pocket Concordance.

  • Do I Make Myself Clear by Harold Evans - it answers a lot of quick questions or confirms suspicions rather easily without the need for the hefty, less user-friendly Chicago Manual of Style (use the online version). The extensive experience behind the well regarded editor brings home the bare bones and acts as the stern but witty friend needed in the writing industry. Relatable.

  • The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism by Kevin Kerrane & Ben Yagota - simply for the experience of good, fluid writing. Clear your head with it when focus is lost and there is a disconnect between you and the reading matter. George Orwell's report on Marrakech strikes a cord in history on how to write emotively on difficult subject matters such as human poverty.

  • A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman - this puts one back into the origins of creativity and into creative mode as an art and as purpose. Remembering the author is creating their own world from their sometimes chaotic environment gives an editor an insight into the raison d'être - and the reason for their book. Great encouragement. Love the profound revelations like the fourteen ways to achieve mediocre art and dealing with critics, external and internal alike.

  • 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman - always a good book to dip into for mastering focus and distraction for both writer and editor. A business staple. It covers the ground of boundaries and priorities that sole operators often overlook and can lead to burn out. Think of it as self-care for your business acumen.

  • Starts With Why by Simon Sinek - remember to look for the why in everything. This helps every aspect of the project that centres on the purpose each believes in, essential for the writer-editor relationship. Although it is recommended for leaders, it translates well to entrepreneurial creatives to give their vision clarity.

  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield - another classic that keeps you company throughout any project. It is handy to keep nearby for the days that stump a writer or give an editor a headache.

The main themes of resistance versus professionalism are balanced at odds and leaves you to determine where you fit in. Good accountability partner.

So that begs the simple question, what's on your shelf?

April 6th, 2022 • 1 min read

Ask a Writer's Coach

As a writer and editor, I have spent many years in editorial offices editing other writers' work for publication multiple times a day, and likewise having my own work proofread by department editors. Being assigned commissions meant researching and structuring a story with reliable sources to a tight deadline, sticking to a specific brief agreed with my editor. This comprised the majority of my professional freelance career. It became systematic and created a momentum of prolific writing which resulted in enforcing an ingrained intuition and instinct to quickly discern the best of a story for an expectant audience. This translates to a skill I have now shared with other writers who I have had the privilege to coach.

Through this website, I am open to hearing from writers who may have never considered coaching to ask your questions or share your experiences or the obstacles you face. Watch this space for a future option to get notified of new posts as they are made available.

April 5th, 2022 • 2 min read

The Latest Best Sellers You've Yet to Read

We've saved a place for you, to share your favourite new books that excite you. Of course we will recommend some, too, but for now we want to keep this open to the readers to highlight the books they admire right now and why.


To start the ball rolling, however, we'll throw out the first title: Have you heard of Love + Work by global researcher Marcus Buckingham? It may well resonate with fellow writers out there, as - no, it is not about office romance - it focuses on the reasons we love our work. Can't relate? Then perhaps that's a cue to find what you actually love and incorporate it into what you do. That could involve a switch in careers, which is precisely what some clients have decided to do.

The book itself is aimed at everyone, with the impetus on exploring how to do what you love and escape the mismatched purgatory of conformity. It's a book I've been waiting for, as the author has a reading habit similar to mine - reads magazines backwards and reads the last page of a book first. It needed to be written - and needs to be read.

Check the book out at you nearest bookseller and let us know your thoughts. Then answer the question: do you love your work? Now you've no excuse not to.

April 3rd, 2022 • 1 min read

'Interview With Author' Series

Coming soon.

Have a request? Connect on the contact page with subject 'interviews' and we will consider it for future interview posts.