What real “balance” in the media would look like

When the mainstream media world talks about the importance of balance, or "both sides of the story", what they are really doing is justifying also talking to the rape victim's attacker, to the cop who murdered the Black man, to the violent right wing in Venezuela, to the coup plotters, and to the company that... Continue Reading →

Who Owns the Words?

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potty series, was asked by her publisher Barry Kunningham to use just her initials (she made up the K), as he thought boys might be wary of a book written by a woman. Many people assume that Harper Lee is a man, Charlotte Bronte originally published as Currer Bell... Continue Reading →

Writers: Stop counting your words

Writers' and journalists' pay and sense of achievement is often framed around a word count – and if that's working for you, fine. But writers shouldn't feel that daily-output counts or ideal chapter word counts are important to being a serious and decent writer. Though writing is work and requires commitment and regular practice, it... Continue Reading →

Male lack of sexual self control does not exist

He was so horny, he just couldn't help himself.... yeah right. So we know that the idea of male lack of sexual self control is used to hold up rape culture. We also know that women, on average, get just as horny as men do (though within both those genders and among intersex people there... Continue Reading →

Stress and oppression can hurt or help creativity

  Today is a tough day. I'm dealing with stuff and there's a tight knot in my chest and work is taking twice as long because my concentration is off, to put it mildly. There is worry crying out from behind my head, knocking on my door, demanding attention - but it'll only make things... Continue Reading →

Facebook’s latest changes are great for its profits and bad for independent media

Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that Facebook would continue to de-prioritise shared public content like news, videos, and links and would favour “family and friend” content like personal photos and thoughts. He made out that “meaningful interactions” were at the core of the decision. But that's just thinly-disguised spin. Facebook isn't a social media company. It... Continue Reading →

The most unfashionable words possible

In these times where we are bombarded with bullshit, where news is advertising and advertising is entertainment and our minds have been made into sloth juice by meme-life and quick-fix social media, we have a duty to be unfashionable writers.  In these times where what we read - the food our brain is fed -... Continue Reading →

What to say to men who insist they should be able to say whatever they like to women

“It wouldn't bother me if I was complimented,” men often say when told that their street harassment or their comments on our appearance are a problem. Here's one bad-ass way you can respond. Start with a hypothetical about a friend who was in a traumatic car crash. Hanging out with that friend, we're sensitive to... Continue Reading →

A Lack of Political Literacy Is Killing Us

Political literacy is more important than technological literacy – without it, democracy and freedom are a sham. It can be easier to stand up to police harassment, bureaucratic abuses or corruption or workplace abuse, when you know your rights and the law. Likewise, political literacy is vital as a tool of defence, conversation, and organisation... Continue Reading →

The Traditional Publishing Industry Is Killing Books

The publishing industry’s focus on profits amounts to a censoring of a diversity of viewpoints and experience. Books are lives compressed, humanity summarized into screaming or striking stories. One would think the book world would be a safe haven from inequality, but instead the traditional publishing industry – the big corporate publishers - is perpetuating... Continue Reading →

The harm done by claiming writers aren’t professionals

Many people would put creative writers (novelists, poets, investigative journalists, satire writers etc) in the hobby basket, alongside people who like camping, stamp collectors, and amateur basketball players. And for many creative writers, that might well be the case. But for others, writing is not a side gig, a Sunday morning past time, or a... Continue Reading →

Creative Free Web Apps for Rebellious Writers

OneLook: This is a beautiful, multi-functional thesaurus, and reverse dictionary. Look up the description of that word you can't think of, and the site makes at least 100 suggestions. You can also look up single words, and the site suggests synonyms that can be sorted by the letter they start with, rhymes with..., primary vowel,... Continue Reading →

For resistance writers, success can never be about sales

Ages ago in 1991, Sinead O'Conner refused to participate in the Grammies, because the music industry, "(has) created a great respect among artists for material gain - by honouring us and exalting us when we achieve it, ignoring for the most part those of us who have not." That is, in an industry oriented towards... Continue Reading →

Is your writing boring?

I admit I have a longstanding fear of being boring. Or I'm convinced that my writing (and my conversation) is artless and unoriginal. The reality though, is far from that, and in life and in writing, I seem to break most of the rules. I guess in this sense, I'm most sensitive about something that... Continue Reading →

The shady side to the fact checking trend (and alternative methods for sorting through the lies).

Since the lying, incompetent orange man became the Republican candidate in the US, then president, fact checking websites and other content have been trending. Fact checking has become a buzzword. Part of that comes down to US-centrism: after all, lying rich people are running most countries, as well as most of the transnationals that are... Continue Reading →

Why we need to hear less from academics

Many believe that academics are the neutral gods above us, who look down at the world and see things clearly. Academics are the “experts” of society that are quoted and interviewed in the media, despite having minimal participation in that society. They hog the intellectual limelight, while others on the ground do the hard yakka... Continue Reading →

Life isn’t smooth and novels needn’t be either

What speed does history travel at? What is the rhythm of humanity? What sort of chapters best capture the pace of life? What types of stories are most suited to a world where a quarter of the world seems to live on the Internet, and three-quarters are struggling with food and shelter? We're told it's... Continue Reading →

The unexpected impact of writing

Writers don't usually the see the impact they have. On Saturday, some friends who were visiting Mexico wanted to see the Frida Kahlo museum. It has gotten pretty intense since I visited it in 2009: now you either have to pay for your tickets online first, or wait in a very long queue. There are... Continue Reading →

What would a just writing world look like?

So we know that more men get published, reviewed, and read, than female writers. And we know that few books from poor countries are published or translated. We also know most writers are not paid for the work they do, and that many books aren't written because some people are too busy trying to stay... Continue Reading →

Why you should forget about read and share numbers

Lately, many of us have come to see read and share numbers as an efficient way to quantify a hierarchy of writers, journalists, opinions, artists, video producers and so on. We've adopted the market mentality that more article and post reads means more consumption, which is a good thing, no matter what. Validation is numerical,... Continue Reading →

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