From a young age I’ve enjoyed writing; scribbling in journals and jotting down ideas inspired by newspaper and radio articles, snatched pieces of conversations, things I’ve experienced, people I’ve met and observed.
In 2000, I got my first job as a press/ communications officer and spent the next decade writing for other people, in many different styles, both a luxury and a curse! And then I became ill. At this point I’d like to say I had an epiphany but the reality is I became more selfish (for want of a better way to describe it) and decided to write just for me and for the love of it. I signed up to the Open University, reduced my working hours and gave it a go. At the end of that year, with good health continuing to elude me, I took a leap of faith, applied for an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Stirling, gave up my job, and used my savings to pursue the passion.
The MLitt offered the chance to explore, experiment and expand my range as a writer. The workshop model was tough but invaluable, and the input from the tutor, other students and visiting writers and poets was encouraging and supportive. I learned the importance of revising and editing, and broadened my reading to include writers that left me speechless: Alice Munro; Ellen Gilchrist; William Trevor; James Salter.
And as if that wasn’t enough, I met Mr D, the man who is to become my husband later this year.
I graduated in 2012 with a first for my selection of short stories and had a couple of them published (including one in Black Middens: New Writing Scotland 31). I was short-listed for a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award the same year and returned to Stirling to facilitate some of the under-graduate creative writing workshops.
Late 2013, I was offered a temporary contract to teach on the undergraduate Creative Writing course at the University of Strathclyde. The excitement of this was short-lived when I was forced to put my writing and life on hold after collapsing at a routine cardiology appointment. I was put on the urgent heart transplant list, and was lucky enough to have the operation at the end of the year.
The advantage of an extended recovery period is that I have lots of time (but little money) – ideal circumstances to concentrate on my writing. I returned home at the end of January and have since published two further stories: one on-line at the Grind Journal; one in Causeway magazine.
This blog is about my writing journey and my recuperation.