I sometimes forget that many of you don’t know me. You may stumble across this Creative Competitor website, the Love Creative Writing Facebook page or the Book Bubble Facebook page and you may enjoy the creative writing tips, author services, writing competitions or articles but you don’t know me and will be unaware of my passion for the written word or my desire to share the joy of writing.
I’m the face and the words behind the Creative Competitor, but even in this day and age of digital publishing where social media is an unbridled entity, getting to really know someone is still difficult.
So that’s why I am introducing myself so you know who I am, why I care about the Creative Competitor and why I believe that writing professionally is the most amazing job in the world.
I’m a writer through and through. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I live and breathe the written word. There’s no doubt in my mind that I always wanted to be a writer from the moment I could wield a pen. Story ideas came easily, technique did not. I have no idea where my desire to write came from, my parents were not ultra creative beings, but the desire to commit words to paper was overwhelmingly strong, and my childhood was littered with partially written stories, poems and opening chapters to novels. I created comics – hand-drawn characters with lively text and I was determined that my friends locally would read each painstakingly crafted comic – weekly editions too.
They were my first readers and their feedback actually helped to fuel my desire to create more. From childhood and through the teenage years, I learned the hard way.
I absorbed writing techniques and styles, slaved away over emotional story-lines, using my own experiences to deepen the emotion within as I passed through the tempestuous teens and beyond, and cried real tears when the cruelest of deliveries arrived – that of the rejection letter. Somehow, through sheer stubbornness, I continued and then, wept tears of joy when my first work was accepted. I am living proof that being bloody – minded and refusing to give in really does work.
I wrote fiction, articles and poems, churning out content feverishly as if there were no tomorrows. Once I realised that holding on tightly to my finished work was never going to help me gain publishing success, I learned to let go. I sent my creations out into the world and, I have never looked back.
I realised over the years that it is not all about natural talent, it’s about the desire to write. You don’t have to lead the most exciting life to create wonderful fictional work or cleverly crafted articles, you don’t have to be rich or famous (although maybe that helps) but you do have to enjoy writing and yearn to be successful at it. Luckily for me, my determination to be a successful writer never really left me even if it was battered and subdued at times.
I wrote before I went to work, I wrote during the lunch-time period, I wrote in my office after others had left. Sometimes I would escape the office in the early evenings and sit in a corner of my local pub and tap away at my laptop, rewarding myself with a drink of something stimulating if I did well. I eventually took the plunge into freelancing and won’t deny that I was absolutely terrified. The transition from amateur to professional writer seems to require one to transverse a cavernous divide where one false move could set your writing career back years, yet, crawl across I did.
When I started taking on freelancing work, I realised that I was really putting heart and soul on the line. It wasn’t just a case of writing for pleasure and telling myself I could be a professional writer, now I had to prove it and I did. I set up the Creative Competitor to establish an online presence and because I wanted to provide a site where other creative-minded individuals could come and learn to enjoy the simple pleasures of writing. I created creative writing competitions to increase inspiration and to provide financial recompense to the winners. With this in place, I continued to write professionally and teach, in fact, my work background was varied.
While in my late 30’s, I re-trained so that I could teach professionally and kind of fell into the role as a teacher of creative writing and journalism. I loved it. I worked at the college in Salisbury, Wiltshire (UK) for six years or more on a part-time basis, teaching many wonderful adult learners who all shared my passion for writing. I had creative license with the courses and suggested themes from novel writing, creative writing for beginners and advanced, article writing, and of course journalism. Teaching began to take over. Then finally, I realised I wanted, no, needed to write full-time.
I made the decision to move away from home, family and friends, and to start travelling around Europe. I packed up the Creative Competitor offices and left my colleagues in the UK. It was a big step and has not always been an easy one. There have been some shattered business dreams, missed opportunities, and a broken heart. But it all adds to the layers and richness of life that I can add to my writing, my emotions, my new comprehension of people and experiences -good and bad are used within carefully thought-out sub-plots, and, for carefully crafted characters. I’ve used my knowledge and personal experiences in my non-fiction books too.
No experience is ever wasted.
The Creative Competitor has grown from strength to strength and even though, the pathway has not always been smooth. It will continue to grow because it’s a site that I am proud of. Now, I have others to help me, my colleagues also relish creative writing and bring their own strengths to the team. Having colleagues who cope with the day to day issues means that I can use my skills more creatively while promoting the site so to reach more people. My resolve remains the same, it is not just about writing competitions now, but adding to our list of author services to help people truly ‘make’ it to the professional heights of publication. This principle forms our strong foundations, this site is for creative individuals across the globe who, like me, are committed to the written word.
After I had moved to France, I set out a writing challenge for myself. I wanted to write my novel in just 30 days. It was tough but I did it. What an amazing experience, even with swollen fingers and aching hands from writing so many words a day. Fiction is my first love but I am drawn to writing non-fiction where I can put the left-side of the brain to work, research meticulously and fuel my desire to keep on learning. Occasionally (and hopefully again very soon) my right-side of the brain will come out to play as I have plans to write a sequel to my novel.
I know first hand how tough it can be to earn a living from writing whether through books or through freelancing. I know how difficult it is to write some days. I feel a lack of motivation when the going is tough too. Everything that you experience, I probably have too. It’s why I am here helping others today.
Writing can be isolating. Friends and family may not even truly understand your need to write, but I do. Broken relationships have littered my past often in part due to a lack of comprehension for my passion for writing and the need to devote long hours to my craft. It’s a sacrifice I am willing to make.
I write full-time – for clients or for myself and I still work hard on the Creative Competitor. I connect with other writers worldwide and what a pleasure that is. To know that those I have helped with writing, editing or book promotion are now becoming successful in their own rights, well, it’s simply amazing.
In search of creative pastures new, I left France for the sun-drenched Spanish landscape to meet up with my brother, a fellow writer and to work on business projects together – in the publishing sector and beyond. Now, all these years later, I realise that through travel and the amazing experiences of life, they have fueled my writing beyond belief. I may miss the vibrancy of the Pyrenees mountains and the rolling hills that beckoned and filled my senses with natural beauty each and every day but as the fabric of life unravels around me it is noted and used whenever possible in a creative sense. Writing has enabled me to live my dream. It’s not an easy craft to master, but what a joyous one.
That’s why I am here, talking to you today, sharing my past, present and future and standing proudly by my Creative Competitor site, saying that I understand your journey because I have lived it too.