Thank you to everyone who responded to my last post about what I should do next. I’m grateful for your comments and support. Writing creatively and trying to find an audience, let alone financial reward, can be tough.

There’s a lot of doubt and rejection along the way.

So, after reading the comments and reflecting I’ve decided to take a short summer break from writing. I need to recharge my batteries and it’s giving me more time to read, which is of course essential for a writer (but time-consuming if you need to hit a word count).

Reading is like adding compost, nurturing. If you don’t read you can’t really be serious about writing, Stephen King says – and he seems to have done OK.

So, I’m reading a wide variety of fiction and journalism. The last few….

The Duke – Life and Lies of Tommy Morrison by Carlos Acevedo

The World of Christopher Marlowe by David Riggs

Rebuilding Coventry by Sue Townsend

The Sound of Trumpets by John Mortimer

Unlawful Killings by Wendy Joseph KC

And, next in line are…

Pig Iron by Ben Myers

Somebody’s Husband, Somebody’s Son by Gordon Burn

With the pressure off a little I’m enjoying reading more and, hopefully with time, I’ll be off and running again with a fresh idea and desire. I have several stories under consideration and a piece about Birmingham about to be published in a book, so it’s a good time to regroup.

I’m sure I’ll always write short stories but won’t commit to any longer term projects until I’m ready. I spend most of my working day writing so perhaps I’m just a little jaded. In time, when I’m ready, I’ll go again.

The key thing is getting the love of it back.

Whatever you’re reading or writing I hope you’re enjoying it.

A favour to ask….

I have a favour to ask. I don’t want your money, or even much of your time. I’d just like an opinion if you have a few moments to spare.

I’ve been creatively writing for many years (since about 1998 on and off) outside of work. My day job (formerly a journalist and now working in communications) means I write a lot in the day too.


I’ve had some creative success with fiction and short stories but a lot of rejection too. It doesn’t get easier and I’ve had some pretty significant setbacks in 2017 and last year.

I struggle with the longer form (novel-writing) as I’m not a natural plotter. I won a novel-writing competition a few years back but alas it went no further. And it’s hard hitting those word counts at 11pm when you stare at a screen all day.

I’ve had some joy with non-fiction, mainly travel, but opportunities here are so limited and especially when there’s little or no time for research (or travel).

Script-writing (like novels) means a lot of ability, luck and persistence too. And effective networking.

As I’ve got older I’ve realised that enjoying it is what really matters and hopefully connectivity with an audience, rather than coveting the elusive paperback deal or TV slot.

I admire those who can still sit and write for hours after a long day spent staring at a screen. But I don’t think I can do that anymore. I no longer love it or feel compelled to do it. It has to be intermittent bursts of energy for me. I’m like an aging fighter who knows a few tricks but has to work in ten second bursts to catch the audience and judges’ attention.

I prefer to work in miniature too. Not a sprawling epic but a few lines on something that’s caught my eye instead. Perhaps a funny line overheard in a coffee shop or life’s possessions pushed about in a shopping trolley.

I’ve published a wide variety of short stories, poems, non-fiction, novel excerpts and journalism on here since 2010 and many of you have been kind enough to read and comment.

I’d be interested in your views of what has worked and what might work, and your experiences too, if you’d like to comment below.

In short, I want to get the fun back and get some response from the online community for what I write. This is why I’m thinking I might write poems for fun (and perhaps dabble with the immediacy of video and audio again) and the odd short story.

I want to enjoy it as much as I used to.

Digbeth Stories – place writing published

I really enjoy writing about place. I’ve had far more success in this area of non fiction than I’ve enjoyed with short stories and other forms.

So I was delighted to learn my piece ‘Cobbles and Cuts’ is to be published in an anthology about Digbeth (an inner city suburb of Birmingham).

It’s a piece that captures the industry, heritage, boxing, nightlife and flavour (I hope) of B5. I’ve a lot of fondness for the area and good memories here.

My piece is in great company with work from the likes of Kit de Waal featured. More info is available here:

Yesterday I was in Digbeth and took a few snaps. The Old Crown pub dates back to the 14th century and stands alongside the creative industries of the Custard Factory.

Old Crown

B5 has long been a centre for the Second City’s Irish community hence the JFK mural.


While waiting for two teenage sons to finish their VR session I snapped this ceiling view in Zellig building.