WriteClub is go!

The first WriteClub went swimmingly, so there will be more.

15 (or so) copywriters, journalists, proofreaders, authors, travel writers, novelists and bloggers chatted over coffee in Cafe Delice (who very kindly opened 30 minutes early just for us).

Given that the plan for WriteClub was to form an open group for all kinds of writers (and non-writers) to meet and mingle, it’s fair to say that the first meeting was a success.

To help organise the group and to help people find it, there is now:

write-club.net (where members can feature their blog posts)

WriteClub – the Google Group (so members can chat to each other and find out about new meetings)

The next WriteClub

Is an evening meeting: Tuesday 13 October, 20:00. Location: TBA (a pub in central Brighton)

The next morning WriteClub

Is Tuesday 27 October, 08:30. Location: Cafe Delice (upstairs)

The Cost of Copy Compared to the Cost of a Website

A couple of questions that I can’t answer:

How much does the average company spend on the copy for their website?

How does the cost of copy compare to the cost of design and development?

The web business is peculiar. Websites exist to present information, but it seems that in many cases the carrier (the website) is treated as the important thing, not the information.

To what extent is copy important?

Do the majority of web designers and web developers have their priorities all wrong? Should we flip the web development process around and focus more attention on the content?

Should more money be spent on great content, perhaps at the expense of design or features?

Social Media Reality Check


I enjoyed this blog post: Calling Bullshit on Social Media, by Scott Berkun. I enjoyed it, not because I agree with him on every point, but because Scott does a great job of removing some of the hot air from ‘social media’.

It seems that in any business it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own enthusiasm (some would call it hype) and it’s easy to find confirmation for your beliefs and to cherry-pick evidence that suits your agenda. And whenever that happens, it’s important for people like Scott to burst the balloon.

Of course, I still feel that there’s loads of potential for organisations to adopt social media and to do something meaningful with it.

Overwhelmed by Blogs? A Strategy for Reading Less and Learning More

Britain Going Blog Crazy - Metro Article

There are a lot of blogs out there – too many to read. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by blogs, with an RSS reader riddled with unread posts, or hundreds of bookmarked sites that you’re never going to revisit.

The Other Problem with Blogs

If you read a handful of blogs about SEO, or copywriting, or fruit farming, you’ll probably end up reading similar opinions in similar blogs by a bunch of people that you don’t know. It’s easy to waste time reading recycled ideas.

Going Local

I have a new strategy for reading blog posts, which brings me nice ideas and doesn’t overwhelm me, and I thought I would share it.

Step 1

I check the Brighton New Media website. (This website collates posts from Brighton’s digital media bloggers – so I can read them all in one place.)

Every day or two I peruse the new posts. I read as many as interest me, and leave comments wherever possible.

Step 2

I’m a regular Twitter user, so I tend to discover good blog posts from my Twitter friends. People share the good stuff, so it’s reasonable to assume that the good stuff will find its way to me, eventually.

So sure, I may be missing all kinds of wonderful stuff, but even if I spent most of my working life reading blogs, I’d still miss something.

For those not in Brighton…

The Brighton New Media (BNM) website is central to my strategy, so what should you do if you like my approach but don’t live in Brighton? I don’t know! Perhaps you could set up a BNM equivalent for your town.

WriteClub: Meet Writers, Drink Coffee [Event]

Working in Brighton, I’ve always enjoyed the variety and number of networking events and casual meet-ups that are available. But wherever I go, I rarely meet other writers.

So, after chatting to Ellen about it, we decided to set something up.

Here’s the event description from Upcoming:

Do you write for a living? If you’re a professional writer, or someone who wants to be a professional writer (like a journalist, copywriter, novelist, poet, travel writer, proofreader or anything else) or just someone who would like to meet writers, come along!

WriteClub is a very relaxed, informal association that consists of drinking coffee and chatting. You can come along to get ideas or support, to find inspiration or tips or to just get away from the laptop and meet other writers working in your area.

What do you need? Nothing. Just yourself and some change for a coffee.


So Ellen and I will be in Cafe Delice, 24 North Road, on Tuesday 29 September at 8:30 (am). The meeting will last as long as it lasts, but feel free to drop in and leave whenever it’s convenient.

We hope to see you there!

[Update – WriteClub – the networking meet-ups for writers and non-writers alike, now has a website]

Public Speaking: Thoughts from dConstruct

dConstruct 2009

I went to dConstruct last Friday and wanted to quickly capture some of my thoughts, before they fade. I discovered all kinds of interesting factoids, but many of my thoughts were related to the act and skill of public speaking.

What did I learn?

  • I like energetic speakers. It’s nice to be enthused and inspired.
  • It helps if a few jokes pepper a presentation.
  • I like real-world examples to counter the confusion of theoretical chatter.

And the not-so-good stuff:

  • Big words should stay at home. Speakers can lose an audience in a maze of esoteric language. What’s the point of speaking if nobody knows what you mean?
  • A presentation benefits from a point. A big, juicy point that is clear and understandable. Just chatting about something you know is fine for you but less wonderful for the 600+ people listening.
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