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Journalism Pick of the Links!

World Wide Events

Tie-in features are staple page-fillers for most magazines, Sunday papers, and now even the dailies with their pull-out supplements. While features afford plenty of opportunities for freelance journalists it's still taxing to find something, apart from hard news, to write about. Step forward the enormously useful World Wide Events Web site.

To find interesting events to preview or be commissioned to cover in time for magazine deadlines we have to rely either on personal knowledge or annual listings in the annual writers' directories. While these are handy for upcoming sporting occasions and exhibitions, they're often printed too far in advance to be truly useful. For example, music concerts are often missing. The annual directories also don't list very many events. Not as many as 37,000 (Ed note: Now over 100,000 listings, target 250,000 3 months) at any rate, which is the number contained in World Wide Events' database.

World Wide Events is a global mega-listing of forthcoming events in 23 countries around the world and even better it's completely free to tap into. Need to find something going on in late March down in rural Devon? You got it. If you're a freelance journalist you'll undoubtedly already know what's happening in your region, but now you'll be able to find events that take place a convenient driving distance away or those that tie in with a trip abroad.

Cooperation is what the Internet does best, and the more people that contribute local listings to World Wide Events, the greater the benefit for everyone else. It is simply a great idea that's been waiting to happen. The site wasn't around two years ago, and we should be truly thankful for it, and the Internet as a whole, for making our lives so much easier.

Simplicity is often equated with elegance, and it's no bad thing that World Wide Events is so straightforward to use. You can search England by individual counties and the US by its States or else view a listing for the entire country. It is slightly frustrating that you can't see all the events in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland at the same time, but it doesn't take long to look at them individually. If you have some idea of what you're looking for, a keyword search facility enables you to narrow the results down further.

And that's really all there is to say, except that this modest and unassuming site has a very understated design and no flashy Web technology to slow it down. Thank heavens for that.

Graham Southorn

Click here for the excellent World Wide Events recommends the following Creative Writing Titles.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Natalie Goldberg's classic serves up its compassionate advice in bite-sized chapters with titles such as "Composting" and "Tap the Water Table." Goldberg is a student of Zen, and it shows; her playful, non-linear approach emphasizes unlearning rules and trusting your own inner voice.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Anne Lamott has won over legions of readers with her wry, self-deprecating wit. Jealousy, insecurity, destructive personal myths--Lamott's been there, done that, and she'll have you wincing in recognition. Interspersed among the anecdotes are sensible, perceptive suggestions (e.g., "short assignments" and "shitty first drafts") for reaching your creative potential without tearing your hair out.

Becoming a Writer
Writing in 1934, Dorothea Brande was truly ahead of her time. In her most prescient mode, Brande even suggests "stilling" your mind's chatter with a series of meditation-like exercises. Contrary to popular belief, Thompson writes, genius can be taught; she promises to help you find the "writer's magic" most writing teachers claim doesn't exist.

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
Not for writers only, this 12-week program for artists provides exercises for rescuing your innate creativity from all kinds of blocks. As the title suggests, there's a spiritual side to Cameron's teaching, and it has inspired a cadre of followers who are almost religiously devoted to her ideas.

The Art of Fiction
The most academic of these books, and in some ways, the most useful. In entertainingly cranky prose, John Gardner takes the reader through the basics of "literary-aesthetic theory" and the fundamentals of craft. In other words, you'll find no meditation or mantras here. A well-respected creative writing teacher, Gardner is also the only author on this list you may recognize for his fiction rather than his writing about fiction. Best quote? "Art ... is less like a cocktail party than a tank full of sharks."

Other Recommended Reading

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    5. Woe Is I : The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English
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    IMPORTANT INFORMATION ppi Have you taken out a credit card, mortgage, secured loan, unsecured loan or hire purchase agreement in the last 10 years? If you have (or have had) a mortgage, loan or credit card with providers such as Abbey, Barclaycard, MBNA, Halifax, HSBC, HBOS, Lloyds, Natwest, RBS or in fact any other credit provider, you may be able to reclaim up to 15,000 if you were sold PPI insurance - in most cases even if you've lost the paperwork.

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