Some stuff Caitlin Moran taught me about writing

Sitting under my parents’ stairs, using the family PC, in 1992, I had no idea that the Sweet Valley High book I was writing would be just the beginning of my writing career. OK so I was 13, and I got bored after around 2000 words and gave up on my Francine Pascal-alike novel, but by 16 I knew I had one goal in life – to become the editor of Smash Hits. I even wrote to John McKie, the editor of Smash Hits, when I was 17 to politely let him know that I was going to have his job one day, so he should probably get me in for work experience. (He didn’t. I can’t imagine why.)

Now, 15 years later, I’ve worked on various magazines (sadly Smash Hits folded before I had the chance to be appointed Editor) and write this lovely blog in my spare time. But I’m still like a sponge, happy to soak up tips on writing, generating ideas, pushing yourself in any way you can to produce fantastic content, whether it ends up in a national mag or a blog read by a few.

When Caitlin Moran was announced as the keynote speaker for Mumsnet Blogfest 2012, a couple of thoughts sprang to mind:

1. “OhmyGodI’veGotToGo”

2. “Eep. The mums who hang out on Mumsnet aren’t my cup of tea. Oh sod it, I’m going to buy a ticket anyway.”

And I’m so glad I did. I picked up photography tips, advanced SEO tips, chatted to the lovely ladies from sponsor Boden and heard viewpoints from interesting people like Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, Zoe Williams, Tim Dowling and Liz Jones. (I’m not even going to discuss Liz Jones here – fellow bloggers Cambridge Mummy and Mummy Barrow have already done that so head over there to read their take on Ms Jones.)

 

Mumsnet, Caitlin Moran, Liz Jones, Daily Mail

 

But most of all, it was hearing Caitlin Moran speak that made it worthwhile. One thing she said made a lightbulb switch on above my head. It’s not rocket science, but it’s just a good solid tip to keep in mind:

Thinking of what to write about? Scrap your first idea because everyone will have thought of that. Then scrap your second idea because the clever people will have thought of that. What you need to do is think of a third thing and THAT is your idea.

She also suggested that if you’re struggling to end your blog post/article, simply cut and paste your second paragraph and plonk it on the end. And to have a cup of tea laced with alcohol every day at 2pm. This is why she is a legend.

 

Caitlin Moran, Mumsnet Blogfest, Liz Jones, Daily Mail

Photographs taken by Mumsnet Bloggers

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12 thoughts on “Some stuff Caitlin Moran taught me about writing

  1. Gutted I missed it. I even had a ticket, but had to sell it because husband was away on a stag do and that left me doing kid stuff. Damn them.

    Would love to have heard Caitlin Moran. She is fantastic and definitely up there in my “people I want to invite to dinner”

  2. That alcohol-laced tea idea, I could get used to that. In fact rewind about 4 years and I think I was used to it. I’m so so jealous, I really wanted to go (just for Caitlin Moran) but for £75 (however worth it) I would have needed to starve the small child for a month and they take them away if you do things like that (and if you get caught with one too many alcohol-laced teas!). :)

    • Yes, a lot of fun. Your comment just reminded me to check out your blog and it’s brilliant. Lovely to meet you on Saturday.

  3. Even after the MN debacle of last year (which you linked to there) I still wanted to go and was gutted that I didn’t. I have a bit of a girlcrush on Caitlin Moran and loved her interview with Tim Minchin from earlier this year.

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