Chapter 23 – June 2020

Hi! Welcome to Chapter 23.

Become evil. Rule the world. Maybe drink tea first and sit down for a bit.

“For a writer there is no such thing as an exemplary life.”

— Tobias Wolff

My birthday is 23 June. I’m trying to relax. This is more difficult than I remember.

This month, it’s my birthday, it’s my birthday, I ain’t picking up the phone on my birthday.

Don’t worry, you can still have cake.

What do your reading habits say about what you should be writing?


Photo by Karim Ghantous

What do your reading habits say about what you should be writing? Just for fun, I decided to use the mysterious powers of the internet to find out.

I used Library Thing to identify some of my more ‘interesting’ reading habits and Wordle to make a word cloud out of the results:


This mash up gave me an instant overview of my literary preoccupations, no matter how weird and wonderful. It was spookily accurate, and much more honest than if I’d written out a list of things that I considered ‘worthy’ of writing a novel about.

The next time you’re stuck for something to write, your current idea won’t come good, or you’re feeling a little bit too curious about the contents of your own head, this is a great exercise to try. Just remember to spend more time writing your novel than — oh, I don’t know — making tag clouds out of your reading habits and posting them on the internet.

I know you SAY that you want to write a literary masterpiece, replete with deathless prose and universal themes of love and redemption. But, if you’ve got a real penchant for the darkly comic and surreal; and are far more likely to be caught reading trashy thrillers about Japanese hit-men and whimsical fairytales about magickal cats — then perhaps you should reconsider your options?

If you love reading it, you’re much more likely to have fun writing it.

Friend Links

Here’s some of my stuff to read on the interweb. They’re all Friend Links so anyone can read them.

Tough Love Astrology — 22-28 June 2020

‘Do the Work’ is the Ultimate Lifehack — The productivity secret you don’t seem to get

Should I Write Under a Pseudonym? — Inquiring minds want to know

Fiction is the Lie That Tells the Truth — Why I stopped writing fiction for more than a decade

If You Didn’t Vote Then Shut Your Mouth — Don’t advertise the fact that you’re an idiot.

My Corona — Never gonna stop? Give it up.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Twitter* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) — The comprehensive cheat sheet that I’ve used to teach people, organisations, and companies on how to use Twitter effectively.

What’s the Point You’re Trying to Make? — Lessons from a travel photographer

Friend Links for Medium — All my Medium posts to the end of 2019

One Minute Reads for Writers — 30 posts in 30 days — My website has links to most of my writing

Note: If you have a problem opening any of these links just try to view them in private browsing mode and that will probably do the trick.

Do you like music? I like music.

I love to share mixes of my favourite music with you.

I’d literally send you a mix CD in the post but these days that’s about as practical as trying to herd cats.

I think that Spotify might be the way to do it — the way to share playlists I mean not to herd cats.

It’s not perfect but it works for now.

I’ve made Spotify editions of my favourite mixes and shared them with you:

God is a DJ


I will continue to put mixes on Spotify and share them.

If you’d like that then just follow me on Spotify and / or let me know what you think.

Listen to this!

I made a playlist reflective of one particular corner of my taste in music.

Hope you like it. If you don’t then we can still be friends — but it’s probably best we don’t talk for a while.

Thanks for reading.

As always feel free to #AskMeAnything