From my portfolio: Making construction great to work in again

There is a real dichotomy as to where the industry should put its efforts.”

Assad Maqbool, partner, Trowers & Hamlins

Attracting more people into the construction and property industry is vital given the projected shortfall of workers across a broad range of skills.

It was really interesting talking to Assad Maqbool and Katie Saunders for Trowers & Hamlins Thinking Real Estate about some of the initiatives but also about what else needs to be done and could be done.

You can read the full piece here.

The accidental freelancer: Thoughts on my first year of self-employment

MIPIM 2019 - CONFERENCES - UK: REGENERATION & WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENTSIt’s coming up to a year since I started out as a freelance and what a career change it has been.

I say started out, I’m more of an accidental freelancer as when I left property magazine Estates Gazette after 20 years, my plan was to take my time exploring different options and ideas before deciding which direction to go, but I’ll come onto that.

My time as a property journalist and features editor taught me lots of things not least that the best time to catch people in the industry is either before 8.30am or after 5.30pm.

Starting out

When I started out we didn’t have laptops and there was one brick-like mobile phone to share on the features desk. If you were lucky enough to get use of the mobile you soon learnt that it never actually worked.

It was the days of long, often boozy lunches and Friday afternoons in the pub (remember those?).

The lack of technology made working life less agile and less productive but in some small way, I do miss those days of being able to get on a train to go somewhere for work and just read the paper.

Fundamental changes to journalism

Mobile phones, digital and social media fundamentally changed ‘storytelling’ and the dissemination of information. It also changed the way journalists interact with their readers.

My skill set broadened considerably. I went from writing and editing for a print publication to a canvas which included digital editions, web content, infographics, podcasts, video, Twitter and Instagram.

The evolution was exciting and exhilarating.

Continue reading “The accidental freelancer: Thoughts on my first year of self-employment”

Writing for the web – 3 tips about presentation

iphone dark notebook pen
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

I’ve been writing for the web for many years both for work and on my theatre blog, making some of the common mistakes along the way.

But I’ve learned from those mistakes and I wanted to share some of the tips I’ve picked up.

My first three bits of advice don’t actually relate to what you write but how your content is presented.

If your carefully crafted words aren’t easy to read then it will put people off reading them.

And, there are also very good SEO reasons for making sure your content is presented well.

1. Mobile-friendly

Remember that people could be reading your blog post or website content on a phone or tablet, not just a laptop or desktop.

Current trends show that the number of web searches on mobile devices is rising and, depending on which stats you look at, has overtaken laptops and desktops.

So it’s important to check how your content looks and reads on all devices and make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

Continue reading “Writing for the web – 3 tips about presentation”

Overcoming writer’s block

photo of a woman thinking
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Search Engine Journal has produced a really useful list of techniques for overcoming the inevitable writer’s block.

It can be agonising when you just can’t find the words and an occupational hazard for anyone who has to write.

I’m definitely an advocate of a change of scene, sometimes just switching from desk to sofa can help me or I’ll head out to a café – I wonder if a short stroll in fresh air is part of the reason why that works?

Also researching around the topic can sometimes reveal an unexpected inroad into a subject.

And then there is the looming deadline. I know a lot of journalists who need the pressure of time to get fingertips tapping the keyboard.

Do you have a tried and tested technique for overcoming writer’s block or just to get you past prevarication?