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Nice to virtually meet you

A brief background over on the right......

How it all started

In the 1960s and 70s, my mother was a sign-writer and silk-screen printer with a studio in the attic of the large, Victorian house we lived in in Darlington, County Durham. She was creative and these were crafts that united her love for words, art and design. I shared her passions and loved nothing more than helping out in her studio during school holidays. My mother taught me many practical skills I rely on today, such as correct spelling and grammar - vital in her line of work. She instilled in me a strong work ethic and the importance of attention to detail. I was a avid book reader and writer from an early age.

I had a talent for art myself, particularly oil painting and sketching. I could have gone to art college when I left school but instead preferred to pursue a writing career.

GETTING INTO A CAREER IN WRITING BY THE BACK DOOR

Practical, like my mother, I was less enthralled by academic subjects but loved to learn. I excelled in English and Art but was discouraged from taking higher-level education, which included university, so I left at the tender age of 16. I took employment instead (whatever I could find) and saved up to fund my own “education”. 

This comprised of vocational and non-vocational courses relating to business administration, development, marketing, PR and communication, plus journalism. My true passion, of course, was writing and my plan, all along, was to become a Journalist and Copywriter - even if I had to get in by the back door! Back then, it was a prerequisite to have a University degree.

The opportunity to get into writing came when I was offered a job in PR, a career I stayed in for almost two decades. It proved a comprehensive training ground, not just in writing but the wider business communication field and it opened the door for a career in Journalism.

By this time, I had a good amount of training and experience in writing (in all its forms: white papers, articles, features, press releases, news pieces, speeches, video scripts, books). So, it was only a matter of time before it began to pay off.

Doubts and Validation

I decided to go self-employed in 1995, initially in PR, but then journalism. The transition happened naturally after I sent my first commissioned article to an editor of a prestigious telecoms magazine. I felt confident in my writing but hearing nothing for two weeks made me doubt myself. I nervously picked up the phone to call and ask if my article had been acceptable. His reply was a pleasant but unexpected: 

Absolutely!” I didn’t have to do a single edit. Send in your invoice and would you like to join the editorial team?

I did and enjoyed writing for the magazine for many years, alongside several other newspapers, magazines and websites. During that time, I honed my writing and journalism skills: research, storytelling, fact-finding, interviewing techniques, publishing (online and in print) and much more. 

And now it’s your turn……

I also offer a range of online training courses in writing and business communication for employees, individuals and small business owners to help you develop valuable skills that will help you professionally develop, promote your business or strengthen your CV.