What is humanity’s greatest achievement?
It’s a question I sometimes ask when I’m teaching, to test thinking skills, historical awareness, and ability to argue a point.
I've heard quite a range of answers, but this week, working in Oxford, came one of the finest and most creative I’ve ever known.
This was the beautiful base for the week of the summer school, Saint Edmund Hall, one of the University's colleges.
I took sessions in teambuilding, public speaking and debating, and where better for that than the legendary Oxford Union?
You can be paid for your work, and you can be really paid for your work.
What's he talking about now? you're probably asking, yet again.
I've just returned from the Swanwick Writers' Summer School, with a heart full of memories, thoughts and smiles.
I was teaching photography for writers this year, and also teaching about teaching.
That was a particularly important course for me, because I dedicated it to the two teachers who, many years ago, helped the young Hall away from a life spent languishing in the badlands, and instead towards the incredible existence I know today.
Everything comes to he who waits goes the old saying.
To which my reply usually is - yes, including death.
You got it. I'm not great with being patient. But patience does have its place.
Like sightseeing in Cambridge. It's best done slowly, so you can properly take in the 800 years of history.
(Ok, that was a bit cheesy in terms of getting a pretty picture in, but you know me and my love of photography by now.)
Anyway, business, and getting on in life, don't always make easy alliances with patience.Read more
As a writer, when you tell people what you do, you quickly get used to a familiar reaction -
I've always wanted to write a book.
In which case, great. Go for it. Writing a book is a wonderful challenge, with so much to offer.
But! One thing to bear in mind (and excuse the pun here) -
Write for the right reasons.
The business of writing is not as glamorous and lucrative as many seem to think. Nothing like it.