Reading

My Top 10 Books of 2018… so far

Top 10 Books of 2018 So Far Ruth Dawkins

My husband and I were lying in bed reading the other night and I could feel him giving me a sideways glance.

“Is that another new one?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Why?”

He made a face at me.

“You read so much. It’s like… it’s like an OBSESSION.”

I can’t understand is why that’s supposed to be a bad thing, can you?!

I read much in the same way that I eat: quickly, and with great delight. But I’m much more choosy about my reading material than I used to be. Whereas I used to wander into a bookstore and choose whatever was included the 3 for 2 offer, now I only let myself buy things from a carefully curated wishlist. Life’s too short for bad books.

So far in 2018 I’ve read 28 books: 18 fiction and 10 non-fiction; 21 by women, 4 by men and 3 anthologies that were a mixture of both. Two of the books were slightly disappointing – not because they were bad, but because they weren’t what I was expecting – but the others have all been fabulous. I thought I would recommend some of my favourites here.
Continue reading “My Top 10 Books of 2018… so far”

Copywriting, freelance life

2018: A New Freelance Year Begins

happy new year 2018

Happy New Year!

I know, I know… I’m almost seven weeks late to the party. But since moving to Tasmania, I’ve had to recalibrate my internal calendar.

Back in the UK, January was the time for getting stuck back into work after the excesses of Christmas. It was always a little tough to find any enthusiasm for ambitious plans and new projects when it was still cold, dark and wintery outside.

Here in Australia though, January is all about the joys of the summer holidays – swimming, sunshine and ice cream – with work dropping much lower down the priority list. Continue reading “2018: A New Freelance Year Begins”

Copywriting, Feature Writing

6 Tips for Editing Your Own Writing

Ruth Dawkins: 6 Tips for Editing Your Own Writing

One of the biggest differences I’ve found as I’ve started to expand my writing life to include copywriting as well as features is that as a copywriter you need to be your own editor.

Obviously if you want to make a living from writing you always need to submit your most polished work. Regardless of whether you’re sending it to an editor that you have a longstanding relationship with or a brand new corporate client, you don’t want it to come back covered in red pen.

But while an editor will have a lot of experience helping writers shape their work, copywriting clients often don’t – they’re hiring you to get the words right – so you need to develop the ability to cast an editor’s keen eye over your own work.

There are a few tricks and tips that I use to help with this, and I’m sharing them with you below. Continue reading “6 Tips for Editing Your Own Writing”

Copywriting, Feature Writing, Reading

12 Great Books about Writing

Ruth Dawkins Copywriter Recommends 12 Best Books about writing

If you’ve read previous posts on this blog, or if you follow me online, you’ll know that my two favourite things in the world are reading and writing. So, what do you get when you combine those two interests?

Books about writing!

I thought I’d compile a list of my favourite books about writing so if you’re ever looking for inspiration, or advice on how to hone your craft, you’ll have some options to choose from. Continue reading “12 Great Books about Writing”

Feature Writing

September 2017 Writing News

 

Sunbeams in Hobart Tasmania

This September marked four years since our arrival in Tasmania.

I wrote a post for my DorkyMum blog about some of my thoughts and feelings about that celebration, which also falls around the time of our tenth wedding anniversary. Along with the lighter days and warmer spring weather, there have been lots of reasons to celebrate!

Work-wise September was one of those months that felt very busy with lots of little tasks. I wrote a good few posts for my own website, including recommendations for the best places to read personal essays, a list of useful resources for Australian writers and a lighthearted piece about my obsession with reading. Continue reading “September 2017 Writing News”

Feature Writing

20 Places to Read Great Personal Essays

Ruth Dawkins 20 Places to Read Great Personal Essays

There has been a lot of discussion in writing circles recently about the fate of the personal essay. I say recently, but in fact this is a debate that has been going on for a long time. Virgina Woolf, always ahead of her time, was grumbling about personal essays as long ago as 1905.

Anyway, back in May, Jia Tolentino wrote a piece in the New Yorker arguing that The Personal-Essay Boom is Over (and then, ironically enough, sold a collection of her personal essays to Random House). It spawned many thoughtful and interesting responses, including this feminist defence of the form by New School Professor Susan Shapiro, this wonderful piece about parenting essays by Lauren Apfel at Motherwell, and this piece by Kath Kenny in The Conversation.

If you’ve grown up online, as I have, you will likely have read hundreds, if not thousands of personal essays. It’s true that many of them – the poorly written, exploitative clickbait articles that were the focus of Laura Bennet’s excellent Slate piece back in 2015 – should never have been published.

But it’s also true that a well written personal essay can be a truly beautiful thing. I have a folder on my desktop of saved pieces that I return to again and again: astonishing, illuminating essays about what it means to find your home, to be a mother, to love and laugh and live. Continue reading “20 Places to Read Great Personal Essays”

Copywriting, Feature Writing

5 Useful Websites for Australian Writers

5 Useful Website for Australian Writers by Ruth Dawkins

When I moved to Tasmania from the UK just over four years ago, I had plenty of experience as a writer, but zero experience as a writer in Australia.

One of the brilliant things about being a freelance writer is the flexibility – I can switch on my computer anywhere in the world and submit my work to an editor in the same town or an editor on a different continent. It really doesn’t matter.

But I do think that when you’re working to establish yourself in a new place it’s important to get a sense for the publishing landscape – the accepted etiquette of pitching and writing, the existing relationships in and across the media, the range of pay rates, and any unfamiliar jargon.  Continue reading “5 Useful Websites for Australian Writers”

Copywriting, Feature Writing, Social Media

Where I Write

Desk belonging to writer Ruth Dawkins

I’ve done more writing – paid, unpaid, copywriting, feature writing, essays, even the occasional poem – since moving to Tasmania than I’ve ever done before. And this is where I do it. My lovely desk.

Computer, cup of tea, several notepads and a complicated system of colour coded post-it notes. What more could a writer need? Continue reading “Where I Write”

Feature Writing

The Lifted Brow: More than MOFO

The Lifted Brow logo

I’m really pleased to have my first piece published with The Lifted Brow online this week. It’s a guide to some of the fantastic activity that is taking place in Tasmania’s vibrant, innovative arts scene. If you’d like to read it, head over to TLB.

More than MOFO: A Tour Guide to Tasmania’s Thriving Regional Art Centres.

Copywriting

July 2017 Writing News

Ruth Dawkins Copywriter Hobart

Welcome to my new website and my first blog post – thanks for stopping by.

This blog is a space for me to share news of my current projects and showcase some of the fabulous work that my clients are doing.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been working with two exciting but very different organisations. Continue reading “July 2017 Writing News”