The Blog

Regular posts on how I write, what I write about, and why. Plus a few insights into my history as a writer, and some of the lessons I’ve learned down the years about the art and science of telling unforgettable stories.

Category

Case Studies

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Portrait of the Artist

Portrait of the Artist

Writing about art raises an age-old challenge. It is of course far harder to write concisely than to drone on for page after page. Because it requires a certain tightness of structure and language, a clear road map and an equally clear purpose.

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Category

Process

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In your shoes

In your shoes

Your life, the way you tell it, is all about the people, the encounters, the events. But because you’re so familiar with each of them, it can sometimes just seem like a series of unconnected dots, not part of a pattern, and not the work of art and feat of resilience it really is.

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Category

Autobiography

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New Year, New Beginning

New Year, New Beginning

Tell My Story was born at the height of the pandemic, but of course lockdowns and restrictions on movement are no problem for a writer. If anything, there are benefits to be drawn from the situation — more stillness, more concentration, and beyond that, a growing awareness worldwide that we increasingly communicate in words, onscreen — that our messages count.

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All categories

Here are the most recent posts across all categories.
In your shoes

In your shoes

Your life, the way you tell it, is all about the people, the encounters, the events. But because you’re so familiar with each of them, it can sometimes just seem like a series of unconnected dots, not part of a pattern, and not the work of art and feat of resilience it really is.

read more
Dance with the Reader

Dance with the Reader

How do you know that you’ll keep your reader engaged? It’s impossible to guarantee, but you can at least be fairly sure that if you’re interested in the subject and engaged by it, then you’re fairly likely to take your readers on a journey with you, and not lose them along the way.

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Portrait of the Artist

Portrait of the Artist

Writing about art raises an age-old challenge. It is of course far harder to write concisely than to drone on for page after page. Because it requires a certain tightness of structure and language, a clear road map and an equally clear purpose.

read more
Tell us a Story

Tell us a Story

Like many (all?) human stories, Vicky Bokengo’s background is remarkable. It contains hidden gems and golden nuggets – and the job of the writer is to shine a light on them so that people engage with that story, and then of course take action: reaching out, making deals, doing business in whatever form.

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Interiors, Exteriors

Interiors, Exteriors

The most important step by far is talking to you, the client. You know your own clients, what drives them, what keeps them awake at night, what the problem is that’s driving them to seek out your product or service. You may not have all these facts at your fingertips but through the questionnaire I send you and the subsequent discussion, you’ll have a much clearer idea of where you stand, maybe even stumbling across ideas you’ve never thought of before.

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New Year, New Beginning

New Year, New Beginning

Tell My Story was born at the height of the pandemic, but of course lockdowns and restrictions on movement are no problem for a writer. If anything, there are benefits to be drawn from the situation — more stillness, more concentration, and beyond that, a growing awareness worldwide that we increasingly communicate in words, onscreen — that our messages count.

read more
CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

My aim has always been to use the power of words (coupled with the power of listening of course) to help you advance your cause, your service or your product, and it’s a highly rewarding experience to see you emerge from the process with greater clarity, fresh energy, and even commitment to what it is you want to do in the world.

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Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

For me as a translator it’s been a great learning experience — seeing that so much unites us all, from our aspirations to our working practices, despite the differences in local backdrop. And yet at the same time to become far more aware that some of our colleagues are working in the context of war-torn nations, while others have no national associations, and no recognised status to speak of in their country.

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Can’t Say Pharaoh Than That

Can’t Say Pharaoh Than That

It turns out standing out from the crowd is not so difficult when it comes to the websites of freelance translators, as 99% of them make the same broad mistake – writing only about themselves, their passion for languages, and their services. A felicitous mix, perhaps, but one in which the client figures precisely nowhere.

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Good Clean Fun

Good Clean Fun

How to write about a field which lies outside your immediate experience? Well, as ever, the most obvious place to start is by talking to the client. And not just to set up the brief, but to find out as much as possible about the business, its clients and the benefits it offers.

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One Shade of Grey

One Shade of Grey

I began to realise that perhaps this was exactly what readers of this kind of novel wanted. Who was I to impose my reading standards on the housewives (mostly) who go for this stuff? Maybe this was an excellent example of the genre, and the kind of novels I personally like to read would have been totally inappropriate for this audience?

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A Healthy Website

A Healthy Website

The first thing your customer wants to feel when they arrive on your site is that you “get” them, that you understand them. It all comes down to what you write. To show them you’ve got the right service or product, you have to start out by talking about them more than you talk about you, or the magic of what you do.

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