My early twenties saw me living in London and working in journalism and publishing until I took a break and spent a couple of years living and working in the Alps. I returned, got married, had children, and started a new career as a freelance writer, which also meant we could move back to Scotland – initially to Inverness.
Writing about travel is probably every writer’s dream, and I’ve been very fortunate. For the shell seekers I was flown to Benbecula and fed gourmet food for three days AND paid for the privilege (Shell Seekers). I’ve enjoyed free skiing in the French Alps (Snow Angels). But most travel writers actually start by writing about what they know – and where you live can be fascinating for someone outside the area (Northern Exposure – Inverness).
With three children under five and a degree in psychology, writing for parenting magazines seemed a logical step, and I’ve written for all of the major parenting magazines, on just about every imaginable topic under the broad umbrellas of health, development, behaviour and parenting.
My most recent articles were for the Right Start magazine.
Some have been incredibly interesting to research – alternative education, creative schools, getting out of the rat race, for instance. But probably the parenting articles I’ve enjoyed writing most were the humorous ones, based on my own experiences:
We bought a tardis
Big bad dad
By the book
Home sweet home
Although serious personal experience articles can also be captivating:
So you’ve been asked to write an article
You’re going to need to do research, and you’ll probably uncover far more information than you’re going to need: normally you only have about 1,000 words or so of space. Yet what you have discovered about your topic could take ten times that word count. As long as you take a fresh angle and use new words, it’s perfectly possible to cover the same issue more than once.
Paradise Afloat and Canal
Spiders HC and Spiders Jun
As a creative writing teacher I’ve also written about getting into print for magazines varying from Freelance Market News through to Mslexia, the magazine for women who write:
Writing for the Mother and Baby press
Generating Ideas for Features
Click here to see some Creative Writing exercises.
It was a great honour to be asked to edit some of Dr William and Martha Sears’ books for the UK market. The Sears family were already well known over here for their sensitive, baby-centered, evidence based approach to parenting, and US version imports had always sold well to UK parents. Now Thorsons were to offer four of their biggest sellers edited to be relevant to UK parents. Following on from the success of Babycalming, the publishers commissioned me to “translate” the books from American speak. This was not as simple as it sounds as there were many differences to iron out, for instance in procedures around birth, medical care and education.
Click on a thumbnail to read more about each book:
One particularly memorable experience was creating the content for a Johnson&Johnson/ Profero website to mark the company’s sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics: