Blog: This Writer's Life

This is an honest account of my working life as a professional writer, not just the edited highlights.  If a writer is going to communicate honestly, and inspire and encourage other writers (which I believe it is our duty to do) then we need present the full picture.  Because the truth is, a writer’s life is built on set backs.  Rejections, failures, call them what you will, these are the stepping stones to success.  Often they come at key forks in the road and send us in interesting directions.  I can honestly tell you that every success I have had came out of a set back, often a series of set backs.  Good writing involves risk, breaking the rules, thinking outside the box, pushing yourself.  You can’t do this without failing from time to time.  The key to achieving your goals is to use those failures to make progress.  Every set back is a step closer to your goal if you learn something from it and move on.  Turn it into a success.  I think this is true of every aspect of our lives, not just writing. 

 

So here is my blog.  How I got here.  How I keep going.  How it really is for me.  I hope it’s useful and inspires. 

 

I would like this to be a dialogue, so if you have a question you’d like to ask me or something you are struggling with, then drop me a line and I’ll see if I can tackle it in a blog post. 

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

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Set Back That Led To Success 5

July 2022

My new TV drama which is in funded development with Rope Ladder Fiction in Manchester also came out of failure.  After publishing Quicksand in lockdown I had to consider how I was going to continue...

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Set Back That Led To Success 4

July 2022

My novel, Once Upon A Place was originally written after the success of the Quicksand stage play.  I felt there was more to say about the characters and more I could do with the sense of place.  An Arts Council Grant allowed me 6 months to write a first draft...

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Set Back That Led To Success 3

July 2022

After my  agent failed to sell my first novel and dumped me, I continued to write another but for 10 years I was too afraid to send it out.  I wrote draft after draft.  And then, finally, when I did send it out, I could not get an agent interested...

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Set Back That Led to Success 2

July 2022

Quicksand, also came from a series of set backs and took years of work and many substantial rewrites to reach success but it was worth every moment...

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Set Back That Led To Success 1

July 2022

The first story I sold was an afternoon play for Radio 4.  It was the result of two "failures"... 

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Grab The Opportunities (You Never Know...)

August 2021

In Spring 2021 I saw an ad for an innovative course for TV script editors funded by Sky Drama.  They were looking for 12 participants for a 3 month course in script editing for TV.  The course offered a basic salary and daily masterclasses from key figures in the TV industry...

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Dealing with "Failure"

January 2021

 

My two book deal with my main stream publisher ended because they failed to sell my novels to supermarkets.  Part of the problem was my failure to change my name.  Apparently “readers of commercial fiction do not buy novels by people with names they can’t pronounce”...

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The Smallest Launch Party In The World

​​​1st September 2020

How do you launch a virtual novel during a pandemic?  No guests and no physical book in my hand.

 

But the sun was out!  The book was out!  Something needed to happen, so I poured a glass of bubbly, enlisted Jemima's support and we recorded a little something for you all ...  

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The Final Push

​​​28th August 2020

A frenzy of computer-based activity, uploading the final version of the novel to Amazon and creating a new home page on my website to promote it.  The last minute quote for the cover has been inserted.  Yet another last minute edit made (I have been calling Jack Scout in Silverdale, Jack's Snout for twenty-five years and no-one has corrected me!) and we've done it ...

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Clouds

​​​27th August 2020

A writer’s life can be lonely.  You have to be your own first believer and keep faith in the face of endless rejections.  You have to remind yourself that it isn’t about financial gain, but creative achievement and seek ways to sooth your fragile ego.  I keep good reviews to read when I am low, and I am always surprised.  It is easy to forget your successes when you are constantly facing the next challenge.  Your public face must be upbeat , but there are days when that’s just not how you feel.  The slightest thing can knock you off kilter ... 

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Instagram Princess

​​​23rd August 2020

It's Sunday morning and I am at the kitchen table with my new hat on.  I am not just a writer now, but also a publisher and, in reality, a business entrepreneur.  Still, it’s good to know that I can continue to work in my pyjamas!  So, as a fledgling publisher, these are my tips so far ...

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Sparks Flying

​​​22nd August 2020
I am embarking on a new publishing adventure.  I have a new and very different novel called Once Upon A Place, and it's my literary debut.  That's right, not a psychological thriller, but something a little more like my plays.  Lyrical, rooted in the local landscape, drawing on my Polish roots and a little playful with structure.  Does that sound overblown?  Well, fear not, my friends, it is still funny and down to earth and above all, warm.  I don't know about you, but I have become tired ...
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How not to start a blog 

​​​17 August 2020
Welcome to my blog. 

Firstly, let's just celebrate the fact that you are reading this right now, because while I am typing it onto the screen, I have no idea how (or if) this is going to work.  If you are looking for reading recommendations, writers tips or any concrete information at all, I suggest you skip this and move on to the next instalment ...