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- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?

I’ve just started the second year of a Masters degree in Creative Writing so most days, I am working on my dissertation for this which is a novel or I’m working on the current module of the course which this term is Reading Novels. I also walk my two dogs daily and I run, very very slowly. I don’t mind that I’m slow as I'm still doing it and that’s challenge enough for me. - When and how did you get into writing?

I have talked about it for many years but I’m a really late starter. I’m 53 years old and 18 months ago, my good friend Kari who is also a writer, encouraged me to join a Creative Writing Group that she is in, run by Melanie Whipman. The group were based in Surrey but had to switch to Zoom during Covid, so even though I live in Jersey in the Channel Islands, I was able to take part (probably one of the few positives of the Covid period). The group is fabulous and I’ve learnt so much from the other writers and the tutor. I’m still part of the group. They zoom me in to their ’real life’ meetings’. Then last Summer, Kari gave me another push I needed and encouraged me to start my Masters degree which is challenging but also really enjoyable and is helping me to hone my writing skills. I love being part of a writing community with other students, other writers and the tutors. - How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?

I have a routine which I try to stick to most days, but often life gets in the way of that and also I’m a great procrastinator and easily distracted. I often feel inspired when I run. Sometimes, a solution for an issue I’m having with a story will come into my head or even an idea for a new story and I’ll stop to make a note of it in my phone. So the notes section of my phone is filled with random notes and sentences, some of which I find difficult to decipher later. I’m also inspired by other people. I pay much better attention to the world around me now. I often see the same people when I run and walk my dogs and start to make up stories about them. - How does it feel to have your work recognised?

I’m absolutely delighted to be a finalist in the LISP. I was on the verge of giving up entering competitions because I thought they just weren’t for me but this has encouraged me to keep on entering and keep trying to hone my skills. Writing can be very lonely at times and I have lots of feelings of self- doubt, so to know that someone else enjoyed a story and thought it worthy of placing in a competition is encouraging. - What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a Story?

I find the most challenging aspect is to just get on with it. I often get caught up in a sentence or an opening and find that because that part isn’t right, I can’t go ahead. I’m trying to train myself to not worry about the individual parts of the story to begin with, to just get on with the main idea as I can go back later and change the bits which don’t work and fine tune the detail. - How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?

I came up with the idea when I started running, last year. I embarked on the Couch to 5K programme and once I had built up some stamina, my mind would wander when I was running and I decided to write a story based on the structure of the programme. So that part of my story is fact, but the rest of it is fictional. - Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?

Firstly I’d suggest reading your work aloud, initially to yourself. I often only find the bits which jar when I read aloud. Secondly, workshop, but find the right people to workshop with. I have a great group of fellow writers in both my MA programme and my Creative Writing group who give constructive advice and lots of encouragement. They don’t hold back on telling me what is wrong with any writing I share with them, but they do it in a really helpful, friendly way, so I only feel positive and inspired after their feedback. I workshopped the story from this competition with both groups of people and it was invaluable. And thirdly, I still read for pleasure but when I find a short story or book which I really love, I go back and look at it again and try to break down, what is it I love about it and how did that writer craft the story, so that I can hopefully incorporate some of those skills into my own writing. - What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?

The rejection will always be difficult, especially if it’s a story I felt was inventive, finely tuned and well written, but I try not to get too caught up in this and of course the elation of knowing a writer judging the stories felt that mine was worthy of placement is the best thing. I don’t just write for myself. I want to be read and I want whoever reads my stories to enjoy them. The knowledge that they did enjoy it, is wonderful. - Lastly, do you recommend the writers give a go on LISP?

Yes! I’m already working on my next story to enter again. So don’t be discouraged.



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