Writing a poem is like baking a cake. If it works, yay! You got a cake, and you can eat it and share it right away. If it doesn’t work, oh well. You wasted an afternoon and you probably learned something that’ll let you make a better cake tomorrow. Writing a novel is like trying … Read more

So look, I know I missed my schedule with Death Of 1000 Cuts yesterday, and I also know you don’t really mind. Thanks for not minding, hypothetical blog-reading pal. I am more or less done with the latest round of edits on my novel. I know I keep alternately restarting and finishing the editing process, … Read more

On Friday November 22nd of this year, I will attempt to write 100 poems in a day – starting at 9am, and finishing before midnight. As you probably know, I have past form on this: 100 Poems In A Day 2009 101 Poems In A Day 2010 101 Poems In A Day 2011 100 Poems … Read more

November the 1st is like New Year’s Day for aspiring writers. Instead of forking out for gym memberships or ostentatiously snipping Marlboro Lights in half over a pedal bin, they crack their knuckles, tweet ‘wish me luck! #NaNoWriMo’ and bed in for a month of handwringing Facebook updates apologising that they’ve fallen behind their word … Read more

So it’s been a week since we finished our tour of poets’ graves and I’m still letting all my thoughts percolate before I start producing new material inspired by it. Next week I’m going to be doing two gigs in London where I talk a bit about the trip, and hopefully perform one or two … Read more

Hey chums. I’m in a funny place right now. Not a bad place, by any means. Certainly a busy place. But not one that lends itself to explicating in an entertaining or inherently satisfying way. When an actor or screenwriter says they’ve ‘had a lot of meetings this month’ it’s basically shorthand for ‘I am … Read more

Unless you have some species of rich and meaningful life occupying your waking hours, you can’t have failed to notice that, next month, from Sunday 6th October til (probably) Friday 18th, I am embarking on a pilgrimage around the final resting places of our nation’s most celebrated poets. I’ll be joining Mark Grist and MC … Read more

So you remember I said I’d sometimes use Friday’s Cone O’ Tragedy blogs for introducing you to awesome new stuff? Okay, so you definitely don’t, but still. I said that. And now I’m about to make good on that idle offer in the most spectacular of ways. My wife is so cool. You’d like her, … Read more

Hello friends. Today I flew over to Denmark for a mini-tour with the smashing poet Harry Baker. We’re hitting up Copenhagen today, Aarhus tomorrow, and Aalborg on Sunday. It’s going to be straight pimping. I hope it goes without saying that, if you’re around in one of those cities, please come and say hi! Last … Read more

The internet is in love with twee lists of writing advice from authors – Geoff Quillpusher’s 8 Rules Of Writing, Dipstick McFamouspants’ 10 Laws Of Great Novels, etc. They’re never very enlightening, often strip-mined from larger works and taken out of context, but being short and coming from great novelists they take on a gnomic … Read more

Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true story teller who would keep that from you. Especially do all stories of monogamy end in death, and your man who is monogamous while he often lives most happily, dies in the most lonely fashion. There is no lonelier man … Read more

Last Sunday, CNN published an opinion piece about Chuck Ross, ‘the man who turned rejection into a career’. Back in the 70s, a young Ross, frustrated that his mystery novel had failed to find a publisher, retyped National Book Award-winning novel Steps by Jerzy Kosinski, then submitted it to 14 publishers and 13 agents, taking … Read more

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: hey, Tim, I don’t have to see anything. You can’t make me. You’re not the king. And to that, I say: if I’m not the king, how do you explain my sweet crown? QED, motherfuckers. 1. Rob Auton: The Sky Show Rob Auton is one of the funniest, … Read more

I am so not going to spend time and love on this week’s post, loyal reader. Sorry, but this is my official holiday week and if I don’t give myself I proper break then I will go into full crazydude mode. Trust me. I know myself. I have been piloting a giant me-suit for as … Read more

As I write this I am sitting in my sweltering office, nursing a grippy tum. On Wednesday I went swimming in two Suffolk rivers. It was lovely, but I think I might have swallowed more than my fair share of bacteria, because ever since I’ve had a grim gut ache. Don’t worry, don’t worry – … Read more

If you’ve never encountered the phenomenon of song poems, then, my friend, you are in for a treat-a-roo. Song poems were – and still are – made by companies who place adverts looking for lyrics and poems to make into songs. The ads dangle the possibility of radio play and international record sales, but they’re … Read more

So a few weeks ago I told you how podcasts have become a major part of my week. I don’t watch much TV anymore (except The Only Way Is Essex, weirdly – I’m addicted) but I make a whole bunch of appointments to listen to my favourite podcasts. It occurs to me that some of … Read more

Yesterday, I and the rest of the chaps from Aisle16/Homework arrived at Glastonbury. We’re performing on the Cabaret Stage every day, doing poems to mildly confused but generally well-meaning punters. This is my sixth Glastonbury (last year the festival was cancelled because it clashed with my wedding) and I have a whole smorgasbord of feelings … Read more

I don’t watch much TV anymore. Not out of hipsterish disdain – more my complete inability to schedule a definite hour-long window where I can guarantee I’ll be present, on the sofa, every week. Podcasts fit the slow, exploded breakdown that is my life. I like documentaries – good documentaries, with characters and stories, not … Read more

About an hour ago, I finished. As those of you who follow me on Twitter are probably only-too-aware, I’ve spent the last two years working on a novel. Given that I’d promised myself that I would never attempt a novel again, this came as a bit of a shock to me. My previous attempts had … Read more

So back in May, I went to Beccles to watch world-famous whistler Ronnie Ronalde do a two-hour show of singing and bird impressions. Back in the Fifties he was an incredibly successful performer, selling out New York’s 6500 capacity Radio City for 9 weeks running, doing 4 shows a day. A day! Here’s a clip … Read more

The 100 Little Kindnesses I sometimes catch myself thinking – even preparing to say – I worked damn hard to get where I am today. Always with that tone of shirty defensiveness. Worse, I sometimes – increasingly less often, but sometimes – look at the successes of others and think: but I work so hard! … Read more

Last Saturday I took part in an all-night poetry workshop at Writers’ Centre Norwich that ran from midnight til 6am. I didn’t know what to expect, aside from tiredness. Titled ’16 Ways of Writing a Poem’, it was run by Mario Petrucci. I won’t go through his 16 ways – I’d like to preserve the … Read more

How To Deal With A Heckler Occasionally, in your stand-up or spoken word career, you may have to contend with a difficult audience member. This need not spoil your set. Indeed, it may offer you an opportunity to develop as a performer. Just follow these simple rules*. 1. Remain Calm It’s easy to become flustered … Read more

On Tuesday night, coming home from my gig in Hackney, I had an idea. Well, ‘idea’ is too grandiose – more accurately, I felt irritated about something. On Wednesday morning, I splurged the idea in a poem. By the afternoon, I was getting feedback online. I tried the poem out in my set in Cambridge … Read more