writer

so you want to be a writer?

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Image by Drew Coffman, used under a CC 2.0 license

Image by Drew Coffman, used under a CC 2.0 license

For my 17th birthday I got a collection of Charles Bukowski’s poems. I remember reading it and one poem in particular standing out to me. In fact, ‘so you want to be a writer?‘ hit me in the guts the way Charles Bukowski says writing should explode out of them.

if it doesn’t come busting out of you 
in spite of everything 
don’t do it. 

unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would 
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder, 
don’t do it. Read More »so you want to be a writer?

On starting a new literary magazine

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Image by Wendi Dunlap

As part of my MA in Writing, Nature and Place, I had to do a publishing module. My fellow course mates and I edited, designed, typeset and distributed a literary magazine called Peninsula (you can read the magazine online). I absolutely loved the experience – contacting possible contributors, editing the submissions, the frenzied editorial meetings, and holding the final product in my hands.Read More »On starting a new literary magazine

What does it mean to be a successful writer?

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Jealousy is not an attractive emotion. Being jealous makes you look small and petty. It makes you feel small too. But I have to admit I felt a tinge of jealousy recently when I read about Eleanor Catton winning the Man Booker Prize. At 28 she is the youngest winner ever of the prize. Perhaps because I have a birthday coming up soon (and because I can’t believe its been nearly a year since my last birthday) I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am in my life and where I’d like to be. Of course, writing has figured a lot in all this cogitating.Read More »What does it mean to be a successful writer?

How being less afraid has made me a better writer

I want to write about my year of being less afraid and how it has helped me become a better writer, but it is hard to write about fear. It is hard because fear is so close to the bone. When you start writing about fear you also run the risk of sounding like a self-help book. But I suppose that is a line all writers have to tread. The best writing is not just written, but felt, and that brings with it the possibility of clichés.Read More »How being less afraid has made me a better writer

Should you do a Nature Writing MA?

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Me and my fellow MA course mates on our graduation day.

Me and my fellow MA course mates on our graduation day.

I did an MA in Writing, Nature and Place at the University of Exeter and I’ve been asked about it a few times now by people considering doing either a similar MA or one in Creative Writing. I know when I was deciding whether to do my MA I had a lot of questions and doubts. So I thought I’d come up with a list of some of the things I gained from doing a Writing MA, in the hope that others might find it useful.Read More »Should you do a Nature Writing MA?