… always appealed to me but I was far too fidgety to take it seriously when I was younger. Life had to be dived into, lapped up, splashed around in, before I could sit still enough to write about it.
Writing was originally my back-up plan after ballet (my poor mother must have wrung her hands a lot.) At sixteen, I was offered a junior reporter’s job on a local newspaper but turned it down. Instead, I went to train at The Royal Ballet School, then Ballet Rambert in London. At nineteen, I moved to Holland, where I spent two fantastic years touring with a contemporary company, before my back gave out at the ripe old age of 21.
Over to plan B: eventually, anyway …
It took a few years of job-hopping, travelling and generally bumming about to shake off the shadows left by one career and embark upon another. My first toe-dip into The Media came as an opportunity to work in TV production – which I did happily for a while – before I gave myself the mental slap I needed to stop buggering about, and do the thing I really wanted to do.
A degree in English literature and creative writing came first. Thank you, Bath Spa University and the awesome people I met there, were inspired by – and all the reality checks. Dreams of seamless publishing success were quickly traded for wildly varying freelance contracts and ‘champagne’ or ‘pot noodle’ cashflow. I scored my first gig as a journalist working on Big Brother 1 for Endemol / Channel 4 in 2000.
Some writers specialise in a subject or style …
… defining themselves by a single genre that resonates with them above all others. I’ve always preferred the challenge of variety. That’s a nice way of saying I took every writing job I could get.
Consequently, I’ve worked as a features editor, travel writer, freelance journalist, PR account manager, marketing copy writer and ghost writer. I’ve written eBooks, web copy, white papers, articles, news items, columns and marketing brochures. My first novel is available on Amazon and I’m busy with more. Writing has sent me to places I’d never been before, reviewing beautiful cities, spas and hotels. It has allowed me to interview some fascinating people and work on projects as exciting as they were daunting. Sure, I’ve had to side-step the odd comedian who thinks writers should always work for free, and I’ve had to make a deadline whilst navigating the messy perils of toddlers with tummy bugs.
It is still the best job I’ve ever had and I don’t want another one.
‘Versatile’ is a nice way of putting it …
Scatterbrained is probably more fitting. It’s been over twenty years since my last ballet class – I prefer to drink at a bar these days rather than stick my leg over one – but I’m still a contradictory fidget. My passion for creating people and stories means hours sitting at my desk, yet I go crazy without a daily run, zumba class or something to use up my excess energy.
I’m a hoarder as well although not of things; I collect headlines, references or phrases that prick a nerve in books, on Flipboard, movies, songs. I collect so much stuff that I always have more than I can possibly use in my work. And this blog is where some of it ends up.
This Take …
… is not about the commissioned work I do (although anyone curious to read some of my published articles can have a look on the Old Stuff page). This blog is where I write about absolutely anything I fancy with no confines, brief, deadline or purpose. It is where I can be as versatile as I like.
I hope you find things to enjoy on the blog as much as I enjoy putting them here. For incredible insights into the workings of society and state, check out my partner, Scott Nursten’s blog: eyebrows down