Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Why a creative writing course could help you


Looking back, my second-biggest disappointment as a small child was being given Avon hand cream for Christmas.

Even though turned five in May the headmaster didn’t let me commence school until September. Each morning I watched my older brothers walking to school, envy and disappointment heavy in my chest. I desperately wanted to read – to make sense of those black squiggles that enabled my mother to recite the same stories at bedtime.

As soon as I learned to read I was obsessed. Not daring to turn my light on, I would creep onto the freezing landing at night to read by the dim light until I could no longer feel my limbs or I was sent back to bed. That Christmas my brothers were given torches and I received girlie hand cream. Why not a torch? I didn’t even have dry hands. With a torch I could snuggle up in bed and create a makeshift tent to read my books undetected.

The obsession with reading grew and any pocket or birthday money went on books. Without a book on the go I am incomplete. When I finish a good novel I lose a companion and after an exceptional book I feel bereft. I’ve read a wide range of authors and most genres. I’ve travelled the world and travelled in time without going through the front door. The e-reader is my favourite invention. I take numerous books on holiday without weighing my case down and read at night without being told to turn the light off.

Losing the sight in my functioning eye from a detached retina was devastating but at least audio books were available to me. Discovering cancer within weeks of eye surgery was a trauma but I survived. With mortality staring me in the face I decided to fulfil long-held ambitions so I signed up for a novel writing course with Writing Magazine to produce my first book.

Suddenly I felt like a teenager who’d finally been given the keys to the car. I was in the driving seat and could decide exactly where the story was going. The journey was exhilarating and it still is. I never thought I’d find a pastime I liked more than reading but writing is now my passion. With the expert guidance of my tutor, Lesley Eames, I learned the craft and finished my first book then spent three months re-writing and editing it.

I gave myself a year to find either an agent or publisher. I had a couple of kind rejections  saying  my writing was strong but it wasn’t what they were looking for but a few weeks later Bloodhound Books requested the whole manuscript then within two days offered me a contract. My debut novel ‘Dying to See You’ is being released on the 25th April and my second novel ‘Who’s There’ will be published in September.

And the biggest disappointment when I was five? Being told my new sibling was yet another brother (sorry Craig!).

By Kerena Swan

Back to "Creative Writing" Category

16/04/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Author experiences: Why go on a writing retreat?

Nine different writers tell us why they went on a writing retreat, and what they got out of it ...

Coffee break exercise: Time machine

Explore the possibilities of time travel in this week's creative writing exercise ...

What makes a good writer?

What makes a good writer? We've put together a checklist of skills that all contribute to being a good writer ...

Coffee break exercise: Art gallery

Can a painting provoke a new piece of creative writing? Find out in this week's coffee break exercise! ...

Other Articles

Jessie Burton: How to be a writer

The Miniaturist author Jessie Burton shares her experience and advice on how to be a writer ...

Read more, write better! Writing Magazine bonus content, November 2018

Background reading, exclusive extracts and more to complement your latest Writing Magazine ...

Coffee break exercise: Changing genres

Try your hand at several different genres in this week's creative writing exercise ...

The most popular book genres: what do your readers want?

What do readers want? What are the most popular book genres, by sales and by earnings? We break down the ...