My Writing Journey

I have always loved writing. As a child I made up stories and in my teens. I began to write poetry. It was a different age then⸺no internet, so much harder to get work published except in very local and rather tatty pamphlets. I have only four poems that survived from that time⸺they had been used as bookmarks! They’ve been much edited since then, but the themes of identity and dreams and style of writing are not dissimilar to some of my present poems.

I continued to write poetry at various times in my life, but most of my writing was of an academic nature related to my jobs. Then, about eight years ago, my friend told me a poetry group was starting in a local cafe. Unfortunately, the time clashed with my swimming club, so I wasn’t able to go. Then, the swimming pool was closed for several weeks of refurbishment, so I decided to give the poetry group a look in. It was this that started me off writing again in a regular way.

Two other things arose from this – I made some tentative and unsuccessful attempts to have work published and I joined a Facebook poetry group which continued to motivate me to write regularly. I had more or less given up on trying to get work published though. Then about 2 years ago, a post appeared on my FB news feed about a War Poetry competition organised by Theatre Cloud to accompany a touring production of Pat Barker’s ‘Resurrection’. I love Pat Barker’s work and I had written several poems about the Gaza conflict in 2014, so I entered one of these.

The technology was quite complicated, and I was unsure if my submission had actually gone! The instructions said that only one poem should be sent until an acknowledgement had been received and no acknowledgement arrived. After a few weeks I received an email from Theatre Cloud. I assumed it was the acknowledgement and didn’t bother to open it until a couple of weeks later when I was going through deleting stuff. It was really just chance that I opened it rather than delete it and I found that my poem had been shortlisted. I was really, really shocked!

From that point I made a concerted and sustained effort to submit my poems to publishers and now many have been published in a wide variety of journals and anthologies. So really it is by a series of happy accidents that I have arrived at this point and I look forward to what the future may bring!