“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” — Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway was speaking about fiction, where wrangling with words can be extremely painful. Fortunately, I specialise in non-fiction in the shape of lifestyle features, academic reports, ghost-writing and corporate briefs. A few more of my favourite quotes:
“If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” — Dan Poynter
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” — Jack Kerouac
“I am not at all in a humour for writing; I must write on until I am.” — Jane Austen
Editing is about more than where you place a comma or preposition. It’s about taking stodgy text and polishing until the words zing and flow. It also often entails “translating” text so that the reader can enjoy it smoothly. The key principle is: if you don’t understand it, it needs editing. Also, if it’s too “meh” to be rescued, then you need a writer not an editor.
A few of my favourite quotes on editing:
“Write drunk, edit sober.” — Ernest Hemingway
“Editing might be a bloody trade, but knives aren’t the exclusive property of butchers. Surgeons use them too.” — Blake Morrison
“It is perfectly okay to write garbage — as long as you edit brilliantly.” — CJ Cherryh
“To write is human, to edit is divine.”― Stephen King
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” ― Dr Seuss
80 Years – Expanding our Legacy into Africa, a coffee table book on
Coca-Cola Beverages Africa for Gutsche Family Investments
Who says it’s hard to get published? There’s a big difference between editorial and advertising, and it helps to know the tricks of the trade when you want to pitch your product, story or big idea to those hard-to-get-hold-of editors who don’t reply to your mails or return your calls.
Be strategic about where and how you pitch your idea or product because what you want to say, and what the people want to hear, may not be the same thing. Target the right audience via the right channel - which includes social media - at the right time and with the right content.
This is me at the book launch at Fogarty’s Bookshop in Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday, 16 July, 2022. Simultaneously around the world, many of the 300 contributors signed their copies of The Carbon Almanac. The event was live-streamed and we broke a world record for the book signings by the most people on the most continents in the world!
Click on the red image below to listen to why I am involved. Our Eastern and Southern Cape radio station Algoa FM invited me into the studio for a sit-down interview on the Carbon Almanac - I hope it may encourage you to get involved as well!
One of my projects in 2022 was The Carbon Almanac, a book about climate change and why we should care about it. Released internationally on Saturday, 16 July, it has already become a global bestseller on Amazon and other sites.
The Carbon Almanac is a collaborative educational experience with 300 voices from more than 40 countries contributing - and I am so proud to be one of these voices! Founded by marketing guru Seth Godin, the project has grown and grown. By the time the almanac had been published, the number of volunteers had ballooned to thousands of green souls from 90 countries around the world.
My role was not limited to the main book, though, and this is the beauty of The Carbon Almanac: it is far, far more than a book and there are so many ways that you can contribute.
There is also a separate children’s almanac, which I helped to proofread ahead of translation into other languages. You can download it free at the almanac website. Then there’s the LinkedIn Learning course, when you’ll hear many voices (mine included) giving short snappy nuggets of climate change information. There are podcasts for adults and for children, a “Daily Difference” motivational email that goes out every 24 hours, and a free downloadable educator’s guide. There’s a gorgeous photo book, and a fascinating “Join the Dots” section.
The Carbon Almanac, started by Seth in late 2021, has become a global eco-community that is trying to make a difference. As the book cover says, “It’s not too late”.
Every picture tells a story, especially in the visual world of the 21st Century.
Instagram is where I go to get snap-happy with photographs and video clips, my feed is messy and colourful and definitely not curated because this is where I can just play. I also love to mess around with graphics in Canva for friends’ small business ventures or functions - it’s crazy what amateurs can do with free software (but, if you’d like a professional artist or graphic designer, let me know and I will put you in touch). For more, visit my blog, Gill’s Journal
This short clip of a penguin release at Sanccob (then Samrec) in 2016 went viral on the HeraldLIVE Facebook page, with more than 1-million views
Pro bono graphic design for Autism Eastern Cape
I designed my logo as a combination of a pen and computer mouse. These images are for my Safrea profile, and business card
Pilates with Alex graphics for social media: WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook (* I also designed and set up the website Pilates with Alex)
Tam’Jazi City Stall graphics for social media: WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook: the brief was to use a Comic Sans-like font, a grey and mint colour palette
Website & content © Gillian McAinsh 2023