Thursday, 28 January 2010

Learning on the Job

I had a brilliant afternoon at a local primary school interviewing the head teacher and a teacher. I managed to find the school okay and they were very welcoming. My fears that one day someone I go to interview doesn't believe that I'm a writer were allayed instantly. It was such a great experience and I feel enthusiastic and full of beans about the project. I don't know why I think someone's going to not believe me or be really awkward because I've done a fair few interviews now and it hasn't happened to me yet. In fact it's been the opposite - people are only too willing to speak to me, which has been fantastic.

I love going out and about and meeting people for my articles and I know that this career change from nursing to writing was the right one for me. It hasn't been easy, but with a lot of hard work and persistance it is starting to pay off. I am at my happiest when I am researching and writing and love the sense of satisfaction I get when I send off my completed work and getting it accepted is just a bonus! I'd write whether I got published or not.

That's where a lot of beginner writers go wrong I think. They don't fully understand how hard the writing process is, or appreciate how difficult it is to get published. I don't really think I did when I began writing, to be honest! But it's a process we all have to go through and I find that comforting - that all over the world there are millions of writers writing! Many having similar writing experiences and rejections as we have. It's like a club - a society, and one that I am proud to be part of.

Tips of the day

1. Take along a folder of some sample pieces of your most recently published work - particularly that of a similiar nature / publication as to the article you are writing now to give the interviewee an idea of what the finished article may look like and the quality of your writing. There can be no suspicions that you aren't a real writer then! I e-mailed a copy of my recent article in Writers' Forum to a manager of the charity I am writing about now, plus a copy of an article from the actual magazine that I'm aiming the piece at I downloaded from their website and it definitely helped me get interviews and the information I needed.

2. Join a recognised writing association: there are several out there. I belong to The Association of Freelance Writers and you get a membership card you can put your photo on. It's certainly opened doors for me (even if it is a terrible 'Prisoner Cell Block H' photo!) For the journalists amongst us there is also The British Association of Journalists   both have excellent benefits. There are many more out there so have a google. Something to think about.

Happy writing

Julie xx


  1. A very encouraging post Julie. I really want to get out there this year and do some more interviews or if not face to face perhaps by email with questions as I know you have done previously.
    Love the top tips

  2. Thanks, Di

    Oh you must get out there more - it's fun! You're a people person too so I know you'll have no trouble - you know you already can do it as you went to that rare breeds place didn't you!

    I know I threw myself into the deep end with going straight in to Wenlock Olympians but I was born and bred in Wenlock so I new the territory - but after that I stuck with people I knew like Mike with the amateut dramatic group, Carole Ann Carr, your mum and your good self and people from blog land, Liam O'Connell who gave us that wonderful inspirational/motivational talk.

    This is the first time I've interviewed so many different people that I don't know in a variety of ways for an article. I interviewed the two main managers in London via email and phone. And I interviewed the volunteer reader and the regional manager face-to-face in Telford, and yesterday interviewed the head teacher and teacher in a school in Shrewsbury! And that was between doing my stint in the nursery and having to pick Isobel up from school! It's a good job my husband is a willing chauffer! I had a window of 1.5 hours but we finished early which was fab!

    I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone at the next WW meetings - it's been ages! I need my enthusiasm tank refilled!

    Good luck with your writing

    Julie xx

  3. Just seen your article in Writers News. Well done on getting your picture on the front page!

  4. Thanks, Abi!!!

    Still can't believe it - a shock like that isn't good for my heart!

    Julie xx