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A Writing Life

February 6th, 2015

Nicki-Feb-11Like so many of us, I always promised myself I’d write one day. And again like so many, life got in the way. There always seemed to be something  better,  and certainly more lucrative, to do. Having studied for my MA in English literary research while I was pregnant with my first child, and worked part time as a university English lecturer whilst pregnant with the second, then taken a full time office job while both boys were small, I told myself it was now or never. So once the youngest toddled off to school I decided to give up the day job.

My first serious foray into writing was with a children’s short story – and my writing career began with its publication in the young children’s comic Twinkle. That fired my enthusiasm. Thinking, This is easy, I wrote some more. My excitement turned to disappointment when I had no luck with them. So I enrolled on the Writers Bureau course to learn how the professionals did it.

I completed the course in about two years, during which time I had various things published, including readers’  letters, craft articles, personal experience and humorous articles, mainly about my husband and children – they’ve long resigned themselves to being a source of material and having fun poked at them! When I moved on to the fiction part of the course I began to have stories published in magazines and placed in competitions ranging from mainstream women’s to small press and sci-fi.

Some months after finishing the course we decided, as a family, to move to the Highlands of Scotland. On mentioning this to my very supportive tutor, he asked if I was interested in becoming a Writers Bureau tutor. That was about 23 years ago and I have continued ever since, and now tutor on the Creative Writing courses, the Proofreading and Copy Editing course and the Marketing Your Book course.

I have had much work published over the years – four non-fiction books, lots of articles, the odd short story – including one of the stories I’d had rejected by Twinkle several years before. It was published, unchanged, by – guess who? Yes, Twinkle! The moral of which is, never say die!

However, I have made most income from my writing in a more tangential way. With a grasshopper mind and a short attention span, alongside the writing and tutoring I have run one small business after another, all with a fair degree of success.

I’ve let out a holiday cottage in the Highlands and run an apartment letting agency in Glasgow; I’ve run a relocation agency; I’ve been a photographer’s moll for a wedding agency; I’ve run a small restaurant-cum-antiques shop; I’ve run a small publishing company; and currently I am back in the antiques trade with my ebay shop HD Books & Collectables.

The success of all these businesses has owed a great deal to skill with the written word. Alongside the practical nuts and bolts of a business, communication and marketing are the key to success – and what I learned on the Writers Bureau course has helped me immeasurably with the writing of websites, press releases, brochures, menus, book blurbs, letters, sales pitches, item descriptions – and more.

So, as you work through the course, remember that being a successful writer isn’t only about getting articles, stories or books published. Writing should be part and parcel of your life – not something you do when life doesn’t get in the way!

For more information, see my website www.nicolajtaylor.co.uk

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