No training required

I never went to an art school. I failed the art courses that I did take in school. I just looked at a lot of things. And that’s how I learnt about art, by looking at it.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

That’s a relief

This is the beauty and the horror of being a writer — or trying to be anything, really: You can feel important or unimportant. No one cares. No one is watching. You can have fun or you can suffer. No one is grading you. No one is invested. You can proclaim yourself ahead of schedule, or you can spend your whole life telling yourself that you’re running behind. No one is there to measure. You can suspect that you’re insecure and outdated, long-winded and short-sighted, high-strung and lowbrow. Or you can conclude that you’re charismatic, a teensy bit talented, never boring, and reasonably worthy. You have choices. You are the decider. Because the truth is, no one else gives a flying fuck.

I Can’t Stop Comparing Myself To More Successful Writers! – Heather Havrilesky, The Cut.

Banned words: iconic

When I was head of editorial at, I added a banned words list to the website and blog writing guidelines. Because when you describe every destination in the world as ‘unique’ and ‘off the beaten track’, you’re not really describing anything at all.

So I was pretty pleased to see someone tweeting an excerpt from the Guardian’s style guide, where they’ve got a similarly no-bullshit approach to the word ‘iconic’.