Features

I write, therefore I…

The keyboard is now mightier than the pen

The keyboard is now mightier than the pen

Copy writing – the main route for the average writer towards cutting one’s teeth, getting published and ultimately getting paid or building a reputation. Whether it be marketing copy for an advertising agency, press releases at a local newspaper, interviews at school magazines or beach postings for a travel blog, writing copy is a common way to get noticed as a writer. Even Booker of Bookers winner Salman Rushdie was putting out three-line slogans for ad agencies before committing himself to magnum opuses (having coined the phrase ‘Naughty, but nice‘ to promote cream cakes back in the 70’s).

While I may not have crafted a Booker Prize-winning novel myself, I too have grabbed whatever opportunities have come my way as a means of getting my name into print. I’ve been writing in various forms for as long as I remember. When I was about six or seven, I wrote letters to the heads of the toy companies that produced the bits of plastic that sustained my world. There were occasional contributions to my school magazine as a pre-teen – a little poetry and a review of a boxing match (of all things) if I remember correctly.

Taking writing more seriously

Down a side street, near Shinjuku station

Down a side street, near Shinjuku station

At a Cardiff tertiary college in my early twenties, I helped set up the college magazine and held an editorial position. This was the point where writing began to get a bit more real. I interviewed several bands when they played in the area, and wrote the occasional gig review. Following university in Brighton, I kept a hand in with contributions to a number of student rags, managing to break out of the student circuit after a while and into some city publications with longer features.

It was moving to Tokyo that allowed me to really stretch my wings, start building up a portfolio of freelance work and get paid for it for the first time (a little, at least). I wrote opinion pieces for city freesheets, features for an Okinawan travel guide, several travel pieces that were published in a variety of places, a cover feature for a national magazine, a monthly column for a lifestyle magazine and the preface for an anthology of Tokyo-based writers – hitting the giddy heights of ‘making it into a book’.

Using this page

Africa montage by Dom Pates

Africa montage by Dom Pates

Many of these pieces are collected here, with articles, reviews, interviews and travel writing gathered together under the ‘Features’ umbrella. By selecting ‘Features‘ as a main category or ‘Articles‘, ‘Interviews‘, ‘Reviews‘ or ‘Travel‘ as sub categories from the drop-down Categories menu on the right of this page, you can find some examples of them.

If you’ve liked, loved or loathed any of the features you’ve found here, have any questions or comments about them or would like to commission me to write a feature article for your publication, please submit a comment below.

Thanks.

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