Tag: writing

Freedom vs Security

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com]

Today: some thoughts about life decisions.

But First: Let’s Talk About Fourier Transforms,

[WARNING: THIS SECTION CONTAINS MATHS! (It’s optional, so skip it, if you like.)]

A few months ago, I was making a decision, and every time I thought about it, a mathematical analogy sprung to mind.

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How to Choose the Right Path When There are SO MANY POSSIBILITIES

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com]

To my great surprise, I’ve written two books.

The first was non-fiction, and I spent the entire process worrying about making factual errors. I checked and rechecked (and rechecked) everything obsessively. At the very least, I wanted to be able to honestly say that I’d done my best to make sure any information I was sharing was reasonably accurate.

As a means of handling this anxiety, occasionally I mixed in a chapter of flash fiction. This was such a relief! These random chapters about wizards and aliens and talking flowers didn’t have the same obligation to be correct – in fiction, I could make up anything I liked.

Idly, I dreamed of someday writing an entire novel… a whole project free from this pressure, a project where there were no rules.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Of course, it turned out that having no rules was also horrible… just differently horrible.

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What Am I Doing?!

I rarely talk about my actual life on this site. So today, an update.

In short, it’s fine.

But, in long, there are two big projects to update you on:

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How to Write a Great Non-Fiction Book, Probably

diary writing by freddie boy, on Flickr; how to write a book

Original Photo © Fredrik Rubensson, froderik on Flickr.
CC BY-SA 2.0

Instead of my usual musing about anxiety & brains & life & things, today I’m going to answer some questions I got sent about how to write a book.

Specifically, my correspondent wanted to know how to write a great non-fiction book.

Before you say it… god knows why they came to me.

I certainly don’t claim to be a world expert in writing non-fiction. At best, I’m probably the world’s foremost humorously custard-based mental health writer.

Even so, my comedy book about anxiety has been surprisingly successful, so perhaps something in my experience might be useful to somebody.

As I started replying to the email, I realised this might benefit from being more widely shared. So here we are.


How to Write a Book, A Bit:

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What I Learned In Berlin & Copenhagen (About The Future, Flying Vegetables & Travel Anxiety)

denmark party

Part of the party.

Anybody who has known me for even a short time knows I am attracted to ridiculousness like a moth attracted to fire.

Where the thing on fire is a cow dressed as clown.

(Of course, it’s possible that ridiculous events are attracted to me, and not the other way around. I’ve never been able to figure this out.)

Occasionally I attempt to resist and be sensible for a while, but no matter what I try, silliness seems to follow me.

A couple of months ago, during one of these “attempts to be sensible”, I booked onto a conference being held in Berlin at the end of May: Alive in Berlin.

I didn’t know much about it, but figured it would provide a nice celebration after releasing my first book and a chance to do a bit of travelling while I make my next plan.

But then, a couple of days after I booked on, this post popped up on my facebook:

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