Stories change the world, right? They certainly change my world regularly. It’s why I’ve always loved reading, and why I decided a few years ago to focus on what I really loved and learn to write. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done willingly and it’s infinitely rewarding.
I grew up in Leeds and more recently spent several years living on Larrakia country (Darwin) on Australia’s tropical north coast. I now live in Dundee and work part time in the charity sector.
My writing primarily revolves around my personal experiences of environmental and anti-capitalist activism; where some of my most emotionally charged and interesting stories lurk. I’m preoccupied with stories that bear witness to, or inspire change in people and society. But I also adore those easier reads that feel like being gently wrapped up inside a familar world. Isn’t it wonderful that stories can do both?
It was around this time last year that I took the plunge, tendered my resignation as a mental health nurse and began preparing myself psychologically for the MLitt Writing Practice and Study.
I entered my first creating writing class last September with trepidation and my imposter syndrome, but I managed to maintain a poker face as I poised my pen above paper. And off I went.
The first semester has flown past and I have produced writing that I didn’t know I was capable of. The experience of creating new works stirs feelings of sheer delight that take me back to the first time I hooked a duck at the “switchies” and won a goldfish: don’t worry, I haven’t jumped up in class cheering and shouting “I won! I won!”
So far, my mind has been stretched in many directions and I am having fun trying everything; I have moved from my comfort zone of writing in the vernacular to poetic prose, experimenting with form and voice across all genres. I don’t have a background in literature but I am learning the lingo and getting to know the literary giants, past and present– as are my husband, my daughter and my three dogs.
I’m not sure where this is going… but it’s exciting unraveling my new writing life.
It’s with enormous anticipation that I begin my first blog as an MLitt Writing Practice and Study student but I can assure you it is nothing short of an utterly thrilling moment. I am Victoria, lover of words and the power they wield, and I have thrown myself into this challenging course with the purpose of compiling and refining a portfolio of my own writing to present, with confidence, to the publishing world claiming, ‘Ta-da! Here I am!’. Or something like that.
My home is Dundee where I stay with my husband, four children, two dogs, six fish and one hamster, and my interests are reading, writing, reading, writing, reading some more and a little bit more writing. The writing I love to read and explore is writing that plays with form and delves to emotional depths. So I’ll leave you guessing about my book collection for now! I do also have a little life outside of the written word where I run, hike, practise yoga, enjoy hockey and pretend I can play the guitar.
But in case you hadn’t guessed, my passion is writing and my style is yet to be defined. I’m a wannabe poet, short story writer, song writer, novelist and magazine features writer. Is it wrong to want it all? Perhaps not at this stage in my development when there are still so many writing routes to explore. So far on the course I’ve discovered that I’m permanently confused, easily distracted and prone to excitability- there’s much to get carried away by! But I certainly feel like I’m in the right place at the right time and to quote published writer Clare Hunter, who graduated with the MLitt several years ago, she felt she had, ‘died and gone to heaven’ when she began her studies. She beautifully articulated what I felt on my first day, although I do still feel like a rabbit in the headlights, particularly when put on the spot in tutorials!
So today heralds my arrival as anxious but putting-a-brave-face-on-it blogger! I shall endeavour not to waffle but rather to provide insight into life as an aspiring writer and how this exhilarating course is shaping my development and taking me off on all sorts of wonderful tangents! Watch this space.
Meet the new ‘Publishing Writing’ class of 2019-20: Collette Cowie, Heidi Dore, Ellie Julings, Victoria Lothian, Wanda Mcgregor, H Whaley.