How can you improve your writing skills?

This week, a would-be author sent me an email, asking for assistance. Here’s a screenshot:

Earlier in the week, I heard from another man. This one had finished writing his manuscript. Congratulations!, I said.

He asked if I could help him. “Read it, edit, comment…?” he ventured.

It was Saturday afternoon. I sat at my desk zooming him. Outside, late Feb was painting the sky blue. Downstairs my schnauzer Peanut ran around looking for hidden treats.

What kind of comment? I asked. What do you want to achieve by asking me to look at it?

(Tough question, that.)

He thought for a moment and said something many others before him have asked.

“You could tell me, Is it any good?”

I pointed out that I’m just one person. I might decide it’s the best piece of writing ever – better than [ you name it ]. But I might be the only person in the entire world – solar system, Milky Way – who thinks that.

I can read it and suggest ways it might be made more This, or more That, I said. I can teach you some things to look out for – things to remove, things to add. But when it comes to Any Good, you’re on your own.

I told him my fee.

Gosh, he said.

The late Feb blue was getting slightly darker.


I asked if he had ever thought about reading the work aloud, into a recording device, and listening back to it – not just once but several times.

You’ll hear things than need attention. Whether or not it’s Any Good, you’ll make it better.

I don’t usually do this on Saturdays.


If you want 15 mins to talk about something similar (no charge), let me know.


You never know what might happen

I’ve been up to something. I don’t know yet how it will pan out.

Watch this: