About

Hello, I’m Nick. Mostly, I’m a writer. I’m fascinated by the way we build our realities out of words – out there in the world, and in the privacy of our own heads. All from just rearranging a few letters.

These days, I do the various thing you’ll find on this website: work with brands and businesses, write newsletters and books, and various other word-related malarkey.

The words we use – like all of life – are becoming ever more quantified (have you polished your SEO? Have we split-tested these headlines?) Seems to me that as writers, our time is best spent on the things that matter, but can't be measured: the mercurial idea of 'voice'; the fine art of explaining. The meaning that's created between the lines.

Anyway, back to the CV: I was once creative director at The Writer. Before that, I spent a decade as a writer, editor and non-ironic corduroy-wearer at The Oldie magazine. And waaay back, I was a cartoonist for Viz and a joke-writer for the radio.

A business is one of the greatest problem-solving tools humanity has ever invented. A brand is what happens when a business takes Dolly Parton’s advice to figure out who you are, then do it on purpose.

The best communication is always a dance between clarity and surprise. For years, I thought I got that quote from neuro-linguist Steven Pinker’s book, Sense of Style. I just checked. Turns out it was something I’d written in a margin. It sounded insightful coming from him. Sounds a bit pretentious coming from me.

I still think of all writing is essentially joke-writing: focus people’s attention so they arrive at your punchline bang on time, with all the information they need for the lightbulb to go on, and for laughter and cheering.

'Laughter is just the sound we make when all the truth arrives at once.' Someone who is neither me nor Stephen Pinker said that.

Most good ideas are just two unrelated normal ideas, mashed together.

If nothing else, I try to have lots of unrelated normal ideas.

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Fancy a chat about literally anything? I keep Unoffice Hours every Friday afternoon. Drop by.

For a bit about what I'm doing right now, go to my now page