In the Hiddenness of June

July 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

The rain fell in shivering cords
Ropes of sky plummeting straight down
The way only summer rain really does

The air felt close, protective
Like the jungle warmth was on our side
June’s hiddenness draped a damp arm around us and wept

Short Stories

May 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

I hated short stories. I found them unfulfilling. I was stupid and blind.

Then I did Highbrow’s short story course. They sent me one a day – The Furnished Room by O. Henry, Eveline by James Joyce – and I realised I’d just been reading the wrong short stories.

I suddenly saw how incredible they are – like a snapshot of a situation; the perfect soundbite of verisimilitude. Rich, earthy, crystalline, unctuous description.

So, recently I wrote one for myself. It turned out to be a fairly long short story but it was one none-the-less. And today, I found a proper short story I wrote years ago. What was I thinking? I hated them, didn’t I?

I read it and thought it quite good. Good enough that I’ve published it on Medium, if you’d like a peek.

Read A Dying Sun.

The Dress

March 30, 2016 § Leave a comment


With a disappointed sigh, the dress allowed itself to be returned to the rack.

It was a whisper of a dress, a ghostly slip of pearl hues that hushed against the other silks and satins.

Oh, to be worn! To glide against summer skin or float on icy air!

But no – back to the rack, this time.


Inspired by this wonderfully emotive dangling modifier:

With a sigh of disappointment, the expensive dress was returned to the rack.


Welcome to Copywriting

March 17, 2016 § 6 Comments

For those of you new to copywriting as a career, my copybuddies and I will be putting on a free Saturday talk this April.


Rather than a plain old introduction to copywriting, this is a welcome. In the spirit of #copywritersunite, we want to draw you into the fold with open arms. This day of copywriting camaraderie is also backed by the Professional Copywriters’ Network. So come along and be welcomed to copywriting.

I’m completely new to the copywriting world. Can you help me?

Absolutely. Do join in.

I’m a junior copywriter. Will I still learn things by showing up?

Yes. And we’d love to meet you.

I’m just starting as a freelancer. Will this be relevant to me, too?

It certainly will. Sign up.

I’m a solidly midweight copywriter or above. Is this going to be of any use to me?

Probably not. Sorry.

Who’s running the show, and how can I stalk them on Twitter?

Kady Potter – @koisurukady

Freelance copywriter, Japan fan, larger than life (on the inside).

Kady has not long reached what most people will agree is midweight level, and it hasn’t been plain sailing. It would pain her to see you go through the same while she watches in silent horror. Join us and Kady will help you to recognise terrible (if well-meant) copywriting advice. You’ll also get a few choice words from her on gimmicks, and on the race to the bottom when it comes to charging for freelance work.

Honor Clement-Hayes – @mutatedmusings

In-house content writer, pint-sized imaginarium, darling of The Drum’s 50 Under 30.

Hey, that’s me! I know about: sucking money and/or glory out of any opportunity, what it’s like to be the only copywriter in a global company, how to keep the YOU in your copy, and how to pester your idols into helping you.

Chloe Marshall – @re_scrawl

In-house copywriter, HMRC wrangler, chalk-o-genic life model.

Our Chlo’s seen it all. And if you’ve ever been to a life drawing class in the Warwickshire area, chances are you’ve seen all of her. On the day, pay attention to Chloe to find out more about starting small, being the only writer in the village (or so you think) and the many hats of small agency life. She’s also got a thing or two to say about extra-curricular activities, and the creative scene outside London (like, properly north).

David ‘Our Dibbsy’ Evans – @daviddibbs

Junior copywriter in waiting, social media manager, beloved by all.

More experienced copywriters will happily give you advice, but they can sometimes be detached from the situation you’re asking about. David’s going through the same things as you RIGHT NOW. He’ll share what’s working for him (and what really isn’t) to give you pointers that are relevant to the current copy job market.

What topics are you going to cover?

Things you will know after spending your day with us:

  • Ways to start building a client base and portfolio from scratch

  • How to make yourself and your CV look interesting

  • Why you’re not getting work, and how to start changing things

  • Where the proper money is, because it does exist

  • The pros and cons of being full-time, freelancing, and trying to do both

  • What NOT to do – tactics that are unlikely to work ever ever ever

An important note: we will not be telling you how to write. We trust that, given you chose this career willingly, you’ll grow into an amazing writer in time without our input. You’re welcome to ask us about copywriting techniques, but we’re not doing example exercises or anything like that.

Do I need to bring anything?

You might well want to take some notes, so pack that notebook / wad of A4 / dictaphone.

How much is this going to cost me?

To attend? Nothing. (We’re not covering transport or lunch, though, that’s on you.)

What the hell? You’re running this for FREE?

Yes, we are.

Where and when will this be?

At The Rag Factory, in central London, starting at 11am on April 30th. That’s a Saturday, so you don’t have to take time off from your unpaid internship to come along. The full address is:

16-18 Heneage Street


E1 5LJ

It’s right next to 12-14. Look for the face above the door.

We’ve formally got the room booked until 6pm, but stop and chat/network/drink with us after the talks. Assuming we don’t drone on and on, we should be done by around 4pm.


Place Names Inspire Me

March 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

Oh, yes. I’ve laboured on this topic often. How boring of me. Doubtful Sound inspired Lonely Farm and Lonely Farm inspired Lonely Sound.

But it’s true that these kinds of odd, lonely, wild names awaken something in me that claws to get out. Here are some of my favourites from around the world but mostly the good old mental-case United States of America:

Deception Falls, Washington

Joshua Tree and Ragged Point, California

Accident, Maryland

Bitter End, Tennessee

Hell Gate, Queens

Medicine Hat, Alberta

Nothing and Why, Arizona

Odd Down, Somerset

Rapture, Indiana

Pity Me, Durham (thought to come from the French petit mere)

Dancing Ledge, Dorset

Mount Despair, Montana


They all sound like places where someone would go slowly and dangerously mad from loneliness in a Stephen King novel. Only that would require them to all be places in Maine.

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