Often it’s messy (well, less so the reading) and occasionally it’s emotional.
But it’s always honest: to myself, to the client, to the brief.
I used to say that I had specialisms as a writer – my early commissions were often about food, or about the amazing county where I live, Cornwall.
I’m a linguaphile. I like words. I like what they can do for me and to me.
And I’ve come to realise I’m a (pretentious, yes) philomath – I really like learning new things and using words in new ways.
And I’m not as afraid of the big bad wolves as I once was – so I write about subjects I might have, once upon a time, been too cowed to broach.
I’ll come right out and say it – as that’s what you’ll pay me to do, of course – although I write precise, accurate and engaging editorial content for brands, businesses and magazines…I also write about feelings; things that make people uncomfortable; truths worth telling and that speak to either my, or my clients’, dreams.
If you’re still here…welcome.
So. More about me. Happy days.
I’ve a First in English Literature and a P.G.C.E from the University of Cambridge.
I was a secondary school English teacher, teaching first, for eleven years, at a large local comp. The sound of a school bell still evokes the unique horror that is Year 7 break duty: mouldering coats, soggy crisps and shrill, inhuman, wails.
And that was just the staff.
Holding middle leadership posts in both this and my next position in F.E., I left the profession two years ago.
I loved teaching: the kids, the books, the fires I could kindle. And I was good at it. For some, I was ‘that’ teacher. And I am proud to have been so.
Like so many ex-pedlars of pedagogy, I loved less the top-down policies and the systemic failures that teachers tried – and still try – so hard to compensate for.
I always said I would leave before I became jaded: in the end, I hung around a year or so after that.
I used to think ‘owning up’ to my teaching career made me less writerly. In fact, it’s informed my professional competence as well as becoming an intrinsic part of my writing identity.
I can analyse a poem, a novel – or write one. Shucks, I already might have.
I know how to fight my way out of a fronted adverbial (I’m joking, you’d never need to do that as they’re actually very pleasant, rarely affronted) and its (lols) meant I can teach others how to use an apostrophe without being patronising.
“‘It’s not ‘its’, you barbarian, Becks.”
I understand too, the vagaries, value (added) and vitality of the education sector, so am well-equipped to write about it.
With two small children, I’ve experienced the trauma of their illnesses, the joys of their triumphs and the shudder of the universe falling into line as their cool little fingers reach for mine.
I have also been sleep-deprived and understand a little too closely, the dark power of depression it can bring on.
Motherhood, parenting, snack-provision, plate-spinning – all topics I am now incredibly well-versed in. For more on this, take a look at my blog series on parenting.
When I’m not writing, I can be found wandering Cornish cliffs or swimming in her waters.
But, most likely, I’ll be hidden away, with a book, thinking about writing again.
Perhaps for you?