I have always written, from early stories about running away, earnest teenage poetry about the state of the world, to scrappy musings about everything that puzzled or beguiled. I never took my work seriously, and was too afraid to show anyone; I focused on my career and more user friendly pastimes like gardening and my love of live music.
In 2013 things changed. I contracted M.E.,following a bout of Tonsillitis. My career was curtailed and I felt like I’d wasted the last twenty years. It also turned out that growing vegetables,baking, walking, carousing, gigging and general raucous fun were becoming rather difficult. Pain, fatigue,and my particular favourite “brain fog” were slowly stealing my life.
I started to keep a journal, mainly to vent the frustration and grief that I was feeling for my old life.This worked reasonably well and most importantly I remembered how much I loved to write on a personal basis, as well as for training and sales material.
A couple of years in to my illness, I took the plunge and began studying Creative Writing with Open College of the Arts . They are flexible (good for health) and cheap (good for wealth), they’re also pretty good at what they do, giving me enough support to grow, but enough space to breathe. I began with Writing Skills, which focused on short fiction. This course taught me a great deal about the craft of writing and about redrafting. The fragile writer’s ego had to go.
I completed the first course in just over twelve months and began the next module, The Art of Poetry. This was a major leap for me. Reading and writing poetry is something I love, but it challenges me emotionally, and I found it hard to allow someone else to read what I had written. The feedback on my work was positive, and I found a fizz of excitement that had been missing for some time. At the end of the first part of the degree, I made the decision to curtail my studies . This was twofold – partly financial, the courses are reasonable but they are not cheap, and I increasingly felt I was being “taught to the test” rather than developing as a writer. Over the last year or so I’ve take a number of short courses that have developed my tremendously, and whilst I’ll always envy people who can afford the time and money do undertake and MA or PHD in creative writing, I feel happy with how my own writing is growing. I haven’t given up on my ambition to reach the dizzy heights of Dr. though – who know what the future may hold.
I was accepted to be part of Nine Arches Press Dynamo mentoring scheme and in 2018 I began submitting to poetry magazines and journals. My first poem was published in Mslexia magazine in Autumn 2018. You’ll find other examples of my poetry online at places like Words for the Wild , Salt Water Zine and Nine Muses Poetry. My happiest success to date was thrilled to be a runner up in Paper Swans Press single poetry competition in 2020 with my poem My death will grieve foxes (on being a hare in England). I write short fiction and flash fiction too, with publications in places like Riggwelter Press, as well as being longlisted in the Fish short story prize for 2019.
My blog is a curious mix of my development as a writer, and the way I’ve learnt to live with M.E.. I often think I should delete early posts, that focus very much on the frustrations of my health but this is a significant part of my life and my writing, so I feel they should stay. There isn’t masses of my poetry and short fiction on here as yet – magazines and journals like work to be previously unpublished – but this will grow as my publications increase
I also work as a copywriter, producing engaging copy for a variety of clients on a range of subjects. If you’d like to find out more about my copywriting services, visit The Word Emporium I’ll be happy to discuss rates, remits and show samples of my work.
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