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
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