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Keep an open mind

July 14th, 2011

“I’m only going to write fiction. I’m not really interested in non-fiction.”

Did I really say that? Yes, about 15 years ago I did. I was going to be a bestselling novelist, a sizzling short story teller and all round literary star. Well, I’ve not done too badly over the years in the fiction department, but I can see why The Writers Bureau recommends that you begin with non-fiction.

I took their advice when I enrolled on the comprehensive course – just to humour them, of course, before I started on my ‘real’ writing and the fiction side.

It wasn’t long before I was having readers’ letters, articles and fillers published on a regular basis. What’s more, not only did I find I could write non-fiction, I loved doing it. Equally, I thoroughly enjoyed the fiction side and unleashing my imagination to the full. I won competitions and had all sorts of stories published, but I have to admit that I have had more success with my non-fiction work.

So while your desires may lie in becoming the next J.K. Rowling or Bridport short story prize winner, it really does pay to keep an open mind. You might be missing out on a lucrative career in any number of areas of writing you’ve never even considered, such as travel writing, writing for the trade press or copywriting. The latter is another brilliant career which I found myself embarking upon and it’s certainly one I’d never have given any credence to 15 years ago.


You’re bound to find areas of writing that you really don’t like the sound of and where you’d sooner sit and listen to Auntie Agnes going on about her bunions for three hours, than tackle your latest assignment. But embrace them, give them a go. It’s all part of finding out where your talents lie. You never know, you might find that you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

Esther says: And the photo? A beautiful, cloudless sky in Menorca where we holidayed a while ago, just to cheer on all these dull days we’ve been having. Needless to say, the boat isn’t mine!

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