I am a Writer



I have an author photo, I must be a writer.

I did it. I shared my work in public.

And surprisingly, despite the sixty pint-sized people staring at me expectantly, I wasn’t even nervous. It just felt right.

The energy in the room was amazing; these children didn’t care that the book I was reading from wasn’t published.  I was a writer, they trusted me. And thanks to their generous enthusiasm, I learnt to trust myself.

I’d been feeling a little jaded. This term on my MA has been tough. There have been a lot of lows, as time after time, I was forced to look at my work through the eyes of the critic. To face the harsh reality that if I want to see this book  in a bookstore I need to do more.

It is pretty common for writing students to have doubts as they get further into their studies. That greater awareness of how you can improve your work is both a blessing and a curse. You have the technical knowledge to really perfect your writing, but you lose your spontaneity. You lose yourself.

Yesterday, when I shared my work with the children I had written it for, I found myself again. I heard my voice loud and clear. I also heard that this was a voice the children liked. They totally entered my world; a world I had created with words.

I am a writer.




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Time for Spring Break

Yep - this was spring. Got to love the North East coast.

Yep – this was spring. Got to love the North East coast.

Am I lazy? Simon Cowell tells me I am.

Okay, it wasn’t the Simon Cowell. It was the Simon Cowell equivalent in my writing class. Every class or critique group should have one: an individual who just doesn’t hold back. They don’t dress up their criticism, or apologise for the fact they hate your story. They simply tell you how it is.

This honesty is a good thing. If I am going to make it as a writer I need  thick skin. More importantly, I need to surround myself with people who will be honest. People who will challenge me. I never thought I’d say this out loud, but I need Simon Cowell.

And he’s right. I’m lazy.

My writing didn’t need to be torn apart by Simon’s brilliant white gnashers for me to know that I’d taken shortcuts. 

Yes, I’m lazy.

It’s not a sit on my bum and eat pies type of laziness. It’s more of a boredom induced lethargy.  I generally make the most of life and the opportunities that come my way. My glass is definitely half full. But to really thrive, I need variety: new adventures, new challenges, new things to get excited about. Currently I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day; I’m going through the motions.

I’ve spent so much time with my latest writing project, I’m sick of it.   Yes, most days, I’m still sat at my laptop. Yes, I’m still experimenting with my writing. And yes, I’m persistent in my pursuit to make my story stronger.  But nothing changes.

As a result, I can hardly bear to look at my characters anymore.  I still love them. I always will. We’ve been through a lot together and divorce is not an option. But, I need some space. I want to visit new places, meet new people, experience new things. It’s something I have to do.

So au revoir my imaginary friends. I’m going away for a bit – or rather you are. I hope you understand that time apart will make us stronger. Please don’t cry. We’ll get back together, I promise. And then, refreshed, I’ll do away with the lazy and give you the attention you deserve. But for now we must part ways for a while. Into the desk draw you go.

P.S. Pass me your false tan Simon –  it’s time for spring break.   

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Happy Happy Happy

I’m going to be published.

My short story, Leave This All Behind, makes it into print in June.  It will feature in Crimelines, a collection of  short stories  for teenagers edited by Manchester Writing School.

Now given I have never written a short story before, I have limited knowledge of the crime genre and I normally write for children aged nine and under,  I have to say I am  pretty happy about this.

Okay, I had a bit of an advantage. As a creative writing student, I was invited to submit a story for the collection. But there were no guarantees. I had to compete for a place in the publication with both students and professional writers. This makes me even happier.

Crimelines will be launched at the Manchester Children’s Book Festival. There’s a special event and everything. I therefore get to buy a new frock and a pair of posh shoes. You guessed it … I’m ecstatic.

Photo Credit: Image posted from Buzzfeed – 20 Pictures That Will Make You Feel Happy – http://www.buzzfeed.com/mentos/20-pictures-that-will-make-you-feel-happy

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