Sofia Drabbles

I’ve been living in Sofia since June 2018. It’s a fascinating city at a fascinating time but it’s neglected – I doubt most people could place Bulgaria on a map and there’s very little written about it, even less that’s written well. Therefore, I thought I’d have a crack at it. I don’t know when or what form that will take though, I’m trying not to force it.

I’ve done a bit of travel writing before and it comes with some difficulties. If you try to capture the ‘essence’ of a place you can look too hard, become too self-aware, and end up attaching significance to every encounter and experience no matter how trivial. On the other hand, if you’re too immersed, you can take for granted all the everyday nuances and little telling details that are the most revealing. Your position as an outsider needs calibrating carefully.

Sofia Drabbles is an ongoing attempt to find the right balance.

It’s a blog about what it’s like to live in Sofia but it’s not a diary or journal, it’s an online notebook. There’s no chronology to it, no regularity, no uniform style – everything is posted randomly. I may draw upon this stockpile of material to add background detail to something, or the posts may start to coalesce around a connected theme – maybe one of them will even spark an idea. I don’t know exactly what it’s for yet but I’m hoping it’ll come to me later.

Each post is exactly 100 words, not 101, not 99. This is known as a drabble and it’s a form that encourages disciplined creativity – very useful for a writer who needs an exercise to keep writing. The restriction of the word count also seems to suit me well. It’s enough for a brief unit of thought and has the scope to let me play around with different styles without becoming an off-putting commitment. I should be able to fit in a drabble occasionally, even if I’m overwhelmed with work. We’ll see, anyway…

Where’s the design stuff gone?

Market forces. I haven’t done any commercial design work for about eighteen months – it’s all been business writing and teaching. I thought I’d make the transition official so I’ve updated the website accordingly.

Nevertheless, if you’d like to look at my old design portfolio you can find it here.

Ghost Blogging

A selection of blog posts written for SES Recruitment between November 2015 and July 2016. SES gave me the themes they wanted to address each month and left me to write the content using their existing tone of voice…

How to improve your networking

10 tips for communicating within a business

5 ways to boost office morale during the winter

The dos and don’ts of office Christmas parties

Common hiring mistakes

10 New Year’s resolutions for businesses

10 tips for writing job and character references

A brief guide to LinkedIn

10 tips for running an effective interview

Experience vs Personality

Agency vs Consultancy

The pros and cons of hiring school leavers

Guide to hiring graduates

The real costs of hiring the wrong person

10 ways to invest in your employees

Another Q&A for Faber & Faber

I took part in a few more live chats recently for students on Faber & Faber’s online writing courses. Just like the chats in November, The Professional Writing Academy very kindly tidied up my answers and put them together into a blog post.

Falmouth Rowdy Dickhead Night Bingo!

Thursday night in Falmouth is Rowdy Dickhead Night. I don’t know why it should be a Thursday, I just know that it gets LOUD.

I used to live in a flat on the main street that overlooked the route between the pubs in the centre of town and a bar that has a licence until 3am. It was a typically narrow Cornish street which meant all the noise was directed upwards and, as the building I lived in was listed, there was no double-glazing to block out the noise. If I didn’t get to sleep before 11pm I was awake until about 3.30am when I’d get about an hour or so before the delivery vans for the shops and restaurants started thundering through town.

I did this on a night that I failed to get to sleep in time. I thought I might as well do something productive instead of laying there swearing and imagining what might happen if I had a crossbow…