Saturday 5 November 2022

How I overcame the fear and allowed myself to write


The place that kick-started my writing

I always dreamed of writing and I could always write quite well but the problem was I never knew what I wanted to write.

Then it crystalized when we were on holiday in the south of Spain.  The children aged, eight and six at the time, ran out of material for bed time stories.  Some strange things were happening in the place where we were staying. I stared writing a fantasy story for them based on those oddities. And so it began in earnest.


  • I started writing 1000 words a day. 1988
  • I joined an organisation called Writers’ Register. 1996
  • From Writers’ Register I learnt about the annual writers’ conference in Winchester. 1997
  • I started entering completions and in all of the Winchester ones I was placed but never came first.  1997-2003
  • From that conference I learnt about the MA in Writing for Children. 1998
  • I took the MA.1998-2000
  • I gave up the day job and started free-lancing, still in teaching however.1999
  • Some of my educational materials were accepted for publication by an educational publisher. 2000
  • I joined the Society of Authors on the strength of my educational materials.2000
  • I joined SCBWI and NAWE.2001
  • A full non-fiction book was published by a trade publisher. 2003
  • A short story was accepted in an anthology. 2003
  • I switched to writing YA and started a PhD in Creative and critical Writing 2003-20-07
  • Five novels and another trade non-fiction were published traditionally. 2003-2009
  • After the PhD I secured a post as lecturer in Creative Wring and after a few years became a senior lecturer. This enabled me to spend my time writing, doing writerly things and a few academic ones as well, and get a good salary. 2007-2016
  • I started my own publishing company and also founded CafeLit and the Creative café Project. 2008
  • I have published seven further novels, a collection of short stories, two collections of flash fiction and three non-fiction books on the craft of writing and one on marketing through that company.  (This is under 10% of our output.) 2014- present
  • I retired from the post at the university in 2016 and I now spend what might be described as a working day on writing and writerly activities, which includes marketing.  I’m working on my own texts and those of other people. And still doing a few projects for the university. I’m still writing YA but also historical fiction for women, mainly set in the 1940s and quite a lot of short stories and flash fiction.
  • I work as a volunteer reporter for the on-line news mag Talking About My Generation.  2020- present  
  • I’m comfortably off.  But not rich or famous. Nevertheless I seem to have been given permission to spend my time writing.

The risks I took?

  • Daring to write
  • Daring to send out work
  • Giving up  the day job
  • Setting up the publishing company

The fear

It fuels the exercise. You can’t be brave unless you’re afraid. Holding on to the dream helps.

What’s the dream now?

To write as well as some of the writers I admire.   

No comments: