Updated Bio

I’ve just updated my bio to include a humorous version: Stephen was utterly sane until he was born to totally normal parents. Having been precipitated into this insane world without his permission, he decided that the only logical response was to become crazy. He hid the craziness successfully while at school. However, when he started working, he came to believe he could speak to machines. The only possible solution was to train to be a software developer. After more than three decades of this, he completely lost his mind and decided to become…Read more

Creativity

Some years ago, I watched a program on daytime TV called The Wright Stuff (Channel 5, UK), which aired between 9:15 and 11:10, Monday to Friday. It was a discussion program with Matthew Wright, the host, and a panel of three guests who talked about what was in the news. It’s since been replaced by Jeremy Vine. One of the topics that morning was whether toys like Lego, selling kits to make specific models, were stifling creativity. I didn’t have much Lego when I was young, but I did own several Meccano kits.…Read more

Creativity and Inspiration

I’ve been a creative person for much of my life, but it’s only recently that I’ve begun to think about what exactly that means. First of all, what is creativity? If you ask a hundred people, you’ll very probably get a hundred different answers, each of which is in complete contrast to the other ninety-nine. It’s not that everybody’s wrong, either. It’s just that, like beauty, creativity’s in the eye of the beholder. Having said that, here’s my take on the subject. First of all, we never create anything out of whole cloth.…Read more

Pomodoro? Caprese? Coffee!

Have you come across The Pomodoro Technique [unsolicited plug]? It’s a method of dividing up your work time, to ensure that you work in a concentrated manner in short bursts, a bit like HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) for the brain. Basically, you set a timer for 25 minutes, a period the author calls a “Pomodoro”. You then work until the timer rings, allowing nothing to interrupt you. After a short break of five minutes, you start the next Pomodoro. Rinse and repeat. The name apparently derives from the tomato-shaped timer that he bought…Read more

Sharing Knowledge

Despite the horrors of Covid-19 and lockdowns, I hope this year brings you joy, good experiences and new knowledge. Apropos knowledge, I remember coming across a “law” of life some time ago, similar to Murphy’s Law: Roger Lincoln’s 2 Rules for Success:1. Never tell everything you know. It’s a good joke, but nowadays, hoarding knowledge is greedy, arrogant and, ultimately, insane. It’s greedy because knowledge doesn’t belong to anybody. Oh, I know that there is proprietary information, like the exact form and contents of a company’s databases or their communications protocols. Even their…Read more

Looking for Publication?

One of the problems of the modern writer is getting noticed by agents and publishers. There are places you can search, of course, like Query Tracker or Submission Grinder. But that's hard work, working your way through hundreds of entries to find a couple that are actually what you want. I know, I've been doing that for the past few weeks...! How about getting three curated selections every week, sent regularly to your inbox? Interested? Then you should sign up with the Writing Gym at 3 Paying Lit Mags With Upcoming Submission Deadlines.…Read more

Yet Another Interview

I mentioned some time ago, in the post Another Interview, that I was interviewed by my friend Janine Bolon, a writer from America. We talked about being a writer, and what that can entail. Well, a few weeks later, we got back together again and had another chat, this time about my book Unleash Your Dreams. Here is the link to our conversation.Read more

Another Interview

I just received some links to an interview I did with an American friend who has her own podcast. The discussion was generally about writing. I thought people might be interested to hear what we talked about. Podbean: https://thewritershourcreativeconversations.podbean.com/e/stephen-oliver-on-reprogramming-your-mind/ Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/743kfTq81cl8zehJ67FCtF Breaker: https://www.breaker.audio/the-writers-hour-creative-conversations/e/74333204 Radiopublich: https://radiopublic.com/the-writers-hour-creative-convers-8QMzmO/s1!abe12 Spreaker: https://www.spreaker.com/user/12807063/stephen-oliver-on-reprogramming-your-min Backtracks: https://backtracks.fm/discover/s/the-writers-hour-creative-conversations/5805f4772e3bbc2f/e/stephen-oliver-on-reprogramming-your-mind/bcbb29e13520f590 Deezer: https://www.deezer.com/us/show/1513512 iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/stephen-oliver-on-reprogramming-your-mind/id1523697787?i=1000495495371 Tunein: https://tunein.com/podcasts/Education-Podcasts/The-Writers-Hour-Creative-Conversations-p1346601/?topicId=158139916 I will be taking part in another interview with her specifically about my book Unleash Your Dreams next week.Read more

Computer Voices

I've been doing some experimenting recently in connection with a project I am working on. I discovered software that will allow me to enter text to create computer-generated voices. I am thinking of using them to make short training audiobooks. Three of the voices appealed to me for various reasons. One is British, the other two are American with different accents. I have a personal preference, but I would like to know what other people think. To this end, I used the software to create recordings of last month's blog post, "Becoming a…Read more
  • 1
  • 2