My Writing, PhD

End of another year

The Christmas tree is up, I’ve already eaten plenty of mince pies, and I have presents to wrap – all while keeping an anxious eye on the news. I’m sure most of us are feeling stressed and exhausted by it all, just hoping that things work out okay and that we can enjoy a safe Christmas with our loved ones.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog, so I thought I’d do a post as we approach the end of another strange year for everyone.

Photo shows a Christmas tree

I’m lucky that I’ve had a range of articles published over the last couple of months since I last posted. This includes my first time writing for Psychologies, which is a magazine I’ve wanted to write for for a long time, so I’m really proud to be able to add them to my portfolio. The feature is on how we can rekindle friendships that we’ve let drift – something that seems particularly relevant with how the pandemic disrupted many of our relationships.

A lot of my article ideas come about when I ask myself a question. In this case, I was meeting up with a friend I’d lost touch with, and wondering why friendships sometimes slip and what we can do to reach out. I realised that this could be a scenario that others find themselves in, and so started developing a pitch for an article around it. It’s a useful way of coming up with ideas. I’m also due to have another feature published by Psychologies soon, which I’m really looking forward to seeing.

I’ve also had features in Happiful, who are one of my main clients and who I love writing for, and a travel feature in Motability Lifestyle magazine, on ideas for city breaks in the UK this winter, from Christmas markets to festive plays.

I love community arts, and so was really happy to have a feature published in Planet Mindful magazine about how we can all share our creative skills with others. I spoke about my experience and about the fantastic arts scene we have in my adopted home town of Stoke-on-Trent. It was lovely to speak to local artists Gabriella Gay and Penny Vincent about how they share their love of art with the community, whether being a poet in residence at a car boot sale or leading singing sessions for anyone to join. I hope the piece inspires others to get involved.

Photo shows a magazine that is open on an article called Sharing Creative Skills

I’ve also been doing lot of PhD work. There’s a lot of reading to do – I’m often very conscious of the weight of all the books I haven’t had a chance to read yet! It’s enjoyable reading though. I’ve been researching disability theory and disability life writing, as well as reading memoirs.

Yesterday I finished reading Letters to my Weird Sisters by Joanne Limburg, which is a beautiful book on autism and feminism. Limburg weaves her own experiences of being autistic into letters she’s written to four women from history, combining elements of biography with explorations of disability and feminist history and theory with Limburg’s memoir. It’s a really wonderful read, and it’s also helped me think through how experimental forms and structures can be used in life writing and creative nonfiction.

As we approach Christmas, I’m hoping to use the festive season as a chance to plan writing ideas for the year ahead. But I’m also planning to rest. It’s been another difficult year for us all, and while I’m very fortunate that I’ve had some great writing to work on, I need to take some time to relax and unwind, ready to go into the new year. I hope that 2022 is a kinder year to us all.

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