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Read terrible books

Home desk setups, George Saunders on social media, beating creative blocks, and the power of simple writing.

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
3 min read
Read terrible books
Workspaces collects the home setups of normal folk

Welcome to another Draft Mode newsletter and may I say thank you for opening and reading. I'm very grateful for your attention. Lots of it about.

I have nothing exciting to tell you other than many, many people have now checked out and started using Draft Mode Bookmarks. Again, it's a free resource and I would not be upset if you shared it as far and wide as possible.

Busy week. Enjoy the links below.

Cuddles galore,


PS The screenshot is of a website and newsletter called Workspaces, which collects the home desk setups of ordinary people like me and you.

Every issue I collect and share the best advice, apps and other shenanigans that I find on my internet travels. Find something useful? Subscribe for free.

Read Terrible Books

Alan Moore recommends reading books that you wouldn't expect to like. Mainly it's to think about why they turn you off and if they are indeed rubbish, why that might be the case. Pretty good advice, if you have the time.

This is from a series of BBC Maestro videos where Moore talks about the writing process. There is lots in there for you to get stuck into.

George Saunders on writing, social media and being ambitious

I really enjoyed listening to George Saunders on this podcast with one of the co-founders of Substack. Given al the Twitter turmoil going on, the bits about social media really struck a chord with me.

I've always felt like I needed to be on Twitter because hey, that's where all the other writers are. Heck! The entire publishing industry is on there. But do I really need Twitter? Would the world end if I just... stoppped?

My guess is probably not. Like, not at all. It's very tempting.

How to solve a creative block

Some good stuff in this by Mason Currey, including:

If you’re trying to do ambitious creative work, you’re going to run into problems. In fact, maybe that’s what ambitious creative work is: trying to solve problems that you’ve invented for yourself.

You can also find lots of interesting quotes and thoughts from the likes of Alexander Chee, Austin Kleon and Vivian Gornick.

Haruki Murakami on the power of writing simply

I've only read the opening to this, but I wanted to share it with you anyway.

In my freelance work, I spend a lot of time writing in and being an advocate for plain English. I think you find real poetry when you strip an idea down to its bare bones. What are you really trying to say? What does this really mean?

Some of my favourite novels are written in very simple, clear language. Here's an exercise. Take a passage you are working on – about 100 words – and see if you can half it without losing any meaning or action. Feel free to share the results in the comments!

Found in this week's Prolifiko newsletter.

How to Organize Your Writing in Ulysses

I found this useful because Ulysses is my writing app of choice. If you haven't tried it, being able to organise your writing all in one place is one of the key reasons to switch from something like Word or Google docs. It's great.

Tweets of the week

So many bad tweets. These are good ones. Follow @iainbroome on Twitter or @DraftModeHQ for newsletter notifications.‌

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Draft Mode is a weekly newsletter by Iain Broome, author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Join 1500+ subscribers and start receiving tools and tips that help you improve, publish and promote your writing.

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I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Every week, I send Draft Mode, a newsletter full of tips and tools that help you improve your craft and promote your writing.

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