The Business of writing, with Nick Yapp and Bob MacKenzie (AMED Writers' Group, 19 June 2020)

Your business of writing:  In ‘Why I Write’ (1946), George Orwell proposed that there are four motivators for writing:  sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose.  How far does this resonate with you?

In this free Zoom-mediated session, we began to explore the business of writing from several different angles.  These included: motivation, points of view, honest self-criticism (in the constructive sense of the word), audiences or ‘markets’ for our writing, and reputation.  And we began to share answers to questions such as: In what ways has writing become a business for us?  When – if ever – do we start to think of ourselves as writers?  What sustains us after that eureka moment?  What might encourage us to think of ourselves as writers if we don’t already do so?  Why are we interested in the business of writing?

Since then, we've come across yet another relevant current initiative called Re-Thinking Diversity in Publishing.

'The cultural and creative industries in the UK are neither reflective of nor produce content for the communities in which we live and work. COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter are showing the existing and longstanding structural inequalities in our society. There is an urgent need for the publishing industry to do more and to do better.' 

If you click on the previous link, you can download the recent research report, and see a number of related events, in case you're interested in participating.

Please use this space to share your thoughts, suggestions or other resources concerning all matters to do with the business of writing.

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Hello, thanks to Nick and Bob for organising this session on the 19th.  Just want to say that I am doing an on-line course on Rhetoric at the moment.  It is based on material from a Harvard professor and actually originally was about civil rights movements in the US.  The examples are all American but using speeches like that from Martin Luther King and some others on things like gun control I have found very useful.  I think the course so far has helped me with a report I had to write for work this week.

The course has already started and so I'm not sure whether if you start late you get any extra time (another month I think).  It is free if you don't want your work marked or to get a certificate of completion.  Of course you do get loads of adverts in your inmail.  Louise

Thank you, Louise, for this very generous offering.  More soon.  Kind regards.  Bob

Thank you, Ruth

Great suggestions.  I, too, had a whale of a time, and appreciated greatly everybody's contributions.

I wonder if your 'buddy system' is in some way akin to our practice of 'critical friendship'?  Other possible themes that came to me during our conversations included 'The politics of writing'; 'Where do we get our notions of "The Ideal Writer" '; 'What is our metier as a writer'?; 'Gender, race and class in writing and writers'; 'Relationships between authors and editors'; 'The pleasures and pitfalls of co-authoring' and 'Stakeholders in our writing projects'. 

If colleagues would like to offer any other themes, or to facilitate a future AWG session, please don't hesitate to log them here, or get in touch with me drect via

And please feel free to add here your reflections on today's session, and to share your tips about, and experiences of, writing, as well as any other references that you think  might be helpful to our community of writing practice.

One way or another, please help to keep the conversation going, and to spread the word..

Can't wait till our next gathering.  Best wishes.  Bob

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