I’ve had to write a bio for something I’m working on and it’s made me consider how I got into this writing lark in the first place.
Like many other people, I became interested in writing creatively at school and seemed to excel at it. I had a very encouraging teacher, which helped. I was also a very keen reader as a child – I would read anything and everything I could get my hands on; even the cereal packets at the breakfast table.
But I didn’t get into writing for a living in the conventional way. Actually, I never seem to do things in the normal way! Most people these days take their A’levels in the sixth form and go onto Uni; studying English, or Creative Writing, or Media Studies or something relevant. Instead, I did a business studies course, started working at 16 and a half in a variety of jobs and studied English A’level at night school. Some years later I enrolled on one of the writing correspondence courses of the type you see advertised in magazines, so for a couple of years I was doing assignments with my tutor on short stories, articles, life writing and more. At that time I found I was better at the non-fiction pieces and started writing for a church magazine and speculatively for a couple of local publications.
Not long after, I was working for a local community magazine as a reporter and editorial assistant, progressing to Editor which was more of a case of being in the right place at the right time I guess. Since then, I have been a writer and editor for a number of publications and organisations, as well as a freelance copywriter, PR consultant and editor, whilst also cutting my teeth as a children’s author and short story writer. My writing career has spanned 25 years and I have earned a good living through writing/editing everything from adverts and press releases through to features and website copy.
More recently, I have concentrated on writing fiction; so far it hasn’t been nearly as succesful or lucrative but I’m working on it.
I’m hoping that my unusual introduction to a writing career will inspire others. Yes, of course it would have been easier to do that degree at the beginning of my career but, I’ve trained and learned as I have gone along and had a rich and varied life to draw upon for subject matter. The most important thing I have learned is that if you really want something, you must have self belief that it can happen.