elaine murphy creative writing tutor for writingclasses.co.uk

Elaine Murphy

It’s one of those awkward ‘Hello … em… what do you do?” moments at a party. The person opposite stares down at their drink and says, “Well actually, I’m an Insurance salesman/ teacher/lawyer/baker/banker.” You nod politely and start drifting away when they catch your arm, “But really, I want to be a writer.” Oh yeah? Then why don’t you just get on and do it?
That used to be me. I was always saying, “Someday, I’ll be a writer but not yet. Not until I can afford to give up work or the kids have grown up or the in-laws have gone or maybe the bathroom’s finished.” There were a hundred reasons why I could never get started and probably the main one was fear. Supposing I was no good? Supposing it was rubbish or boring? And what’s worse, how will I know?
Joining a writer’s group was one of the best steps I ever took. For a start, it gave me the motivation to sit down and write. I had to stop dithering, stop making excuses and actually produce something worth reading. Sometimes the reception was positive, sometimes indifferent, but I found the feedback from a like-minded and supportive group a real help. After a while, though, it wasn’t enough. I wanted more in the way of real criticism, constructive or otherwise. I wanted to know why that ending didn’t work, why that sentence sank into the paragraph like a lump of cold porridge. Writing had become an important part of my life and I wanted some professional guidance.
Distance learning courses were a revelation – especially for someone like me who lived abroad and had to work from home. Suddenly I was in touch with people who shared ideas, took the time to appraise my work and gave me the confidence to believe that yes, I could do it.
Today my life revolves around writing and teaching. I have a Masters degree in Creative Writing and have taught students from all over the world. I lived in Dubai in the Middle East for many years. I am now back in Northumberland and am busy writing my second novel. Some days I still battle with stiff and clumsy words but on others, when it flows, when the world outside dissolves away and the page glitters, there’s a buzz like nothing else on earth.
We all have a story inside us. We just need to find the right path to get there.

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