Most people who knew me when I was a rock journalist in the 80s would probably agree that I stood out. There weren’t that many women working for the music papers at that time – and certainly not women who wore bespoke black and red latex dresses accessorised with six-inch stilettos. But despite my maverick beginnings, as I gained experience as a journalist I gradually became more sensible and … [Read more...] about How to stop fitting in and start doing your own thing
As I’ve written here before, I’m a strange beast: a journalist who doesn’t find self-promotion easy. But I realise I have to get over myself, not only because I need to market my services but also because I've started teaching creatives how to tell captivating stories that will hook the attention of the media. So it's unfair of me to ask them to do something I don’t want to do myself. At least … [Read more...] about How I successfully pitched a story idea to The Guardian
I should be able to do this. I’m a journalist. I’ve been a journalist for nearly 40 years, for God’s sake. I know how the game is played; I’ve been on the receiving end of countless pitches and worked with many PRs in different industry sectors. So why do I find it so hard promote myself? Even though I know what works and what doesn’t work? I know how to write. I’m also a public speaking … [Read more...] about I’m a journalist. So why do I find it so hard to promote myself?
When it comes to memories, we are all unreliable narrators. The human brain will go to great lengths in order to create a coherent sense of self, sometimes inventing things that never happened and even people who don't exist simply to hold the story together. Memory is not like a video camera. It reframes and edits events to fit our current map of the world. So next time you go for a walk down … [Read more...] about How to use an old photograph to tell a meaningful new story
Back in the dark days of summer 2012, when I had just separated from my husband, I signed up for a public speaking course called Speak Like a TED Talker. The aim was to find my TED-style “idea worth spreading”. As I cast around for ways to articulate my message, it came down to this: I wanted to put an end to silent suffering. Looking back, it was a cry for help. I hadn’t told anyone … [Read more...] about Thanks William and Harry for sharing a story from your scars, not your wounds
I blame Miss Hughes. She was my history teacher in the first form at Bromley Technical High School for Girls – a tiny, silver-haired lady nearing retirement but still full of fervour about her subject. She taught us about the ancient civilisations – the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and then the Egyptians. I was captivated by her stories about the pyramids and how they were built, the mysteries … [Read more...] about What the Ancient Egyptians can teach us about story as legacy