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Neil Nixon Interview

Posted on 12 March 2011. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to writer and academic Neil Nixon

Excuse the obvious question but...why another book on writing?

Good question and I've been asked that a few times already. Basically, because there was a gap a mile wide in the market so far as I could see. There just aren't any detailed books on the kind of ducking and diving, making your own luck kind of approach that turns hopeful people into writers with a genuine track record. That's the whole point here, it's about how people with no experience get work,and draws on loads of stories of people who did just that. There's also an interview with a writers' site called Writewords.org.uk!

Is the 'ducking and diving' material from your own experience?

Some of it, yes. But it's also based on things I've done for over a decade with undergraduates who want to get a break, and interviews with a wide range of people who have been successful, some in obvious fields for writers, and some in less obvious areas. Since I seem to have crossed so many paths over the years, I fired off emails and some phone calls and got a lot of responses.

Can you give us some idea of the likely, and unlikely people you have managed to interview?

Likely types include chick-lit author Jenny Colgan, film director Jonathan Newman and Carol Blake who is one of the UK's top literary agents. But I've also interviewed a voiceover artist who works as an angel therapist, someone from a mystery shopping company and Kevin F Sutherland who works for The Beano and presents his own Comic Art Masterclass all over the country.

What has mystery shopping got to do with being a professional writer?

More than you think. I know someone who runs a creative networking operation and website and also works as a mystery shopper, she sees it as using many of the same skills. It's a great training since it combines writing and research with activities that border on acting and forces you into unfamiliar situations, obliging you to see them from someone else's perspective. I'm not saying every aspiring writer should be a mystery shopper, but my book makes it clear that if you want a break, it pays to push well out of your comfort zone.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

Ian Smith 100 at 09:18 on 09 December 2005  Report this post
a very niche business

Shpoken like a true writer. Very niche. I'll have another. Cheers Neil. All the best for the Ann Widdecombe tie-in.
Ian Duncan Smith

Zigeroon at 14:54 on 16 December 2005  Report this post


Thanks for the interesting interview and the off hand way you detail the obviously hard work involved in producing such a varied body of work.

I know what you mean about a constant stream of ideas, if only I could turn them into the joy of publcation. Onward and upward!

Great insight.


Neil Nixon at 09:36 on 19 December 2005  Report this post
IDS: I did a double take for a second, figuring you for the former leader turned novelist. Either way, I'll be sure to tell Ms Widdecombe that IDS says 'hi' at the gig in January.

Tamiwman at 12:42 on 22 June 2022  Report this post



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