Friday in Focus: Jo

Posted 8th January 2016 by Emma in FIF / 0 Comments

It’s Friday again and today I am excited to welcome Jo to Star Crossed Reviews to talk about her journey with writing.

I would like to thank Emma for inviting me to take part in her Friday in focus feature.  I had so many things I could have written about but what I will write about is never giving up on your dreams.

I’ll start my post going back to when I was at school I always loved reading and then I found I enjoyed writing too, but my problem was when I was at school.  It was all you can’t make money from being a writer, you need to get a proper job.  Now I will say my written English skills aren’t great but nevertheless I would write what would be now termed as fan fiction.  Every night I would write story after story about the bands of the time or the hottest footballers, convinced that these would only ever be for my eyes only.  Still I dreamed of being a famous writer.

As I got older I gave up writing but my love of reading continued and still does to this day.  I love nothing more than losing myself in a good book and longed to be as good as the authors I was reading.  I also became good friends with some of these authors.

When I first heard about nanowrimo in 2014 I didn’t think I would manage a 1000 words never mind 50,000.  I mentioned it one day and they encouraged me to give it a go, just to write and see where the story would take me.  I didn’t manage to do 50,000 words only about 20,000 but still a good effort for my first attempt.  I eventually finished the manuscript and let a couple of friends read it, they were lovely in their support.  In the meantime I continued to write and would enter the SOLD writing challenge every couple of weeks and won great feedback for my synopsis.

I started to edit my manuscript  planning to submit it to the SYTYCW competition in September.  (Events over the summer stopped that happening).

I threw the manuscript in the drawer and decided I needed a break from it.  So now I was back to nanowrimo time again and having been talking to Sophie Hedley we decided to give it another go.  This time I managed 37,000 words.  My manuscript is still not finished but I’m okay with that, I’ve proved to myself I can do.

Someone told me about the RNA New Writers scheme, how wonderful and supportive it is.  They told me I should try and get on it (this is really hard as they it is a popular scheme).  With trepidation I had my email ready to send at 12pm on 2 January, never thinking I would be one of the lucky ones to secure a place.  I did along with Sophie, to say I was shocked, amazed, excited and full of nerves was an understatement.  I’m still excited about being accepted now.

So the reason for me saying never give up on your dreams is that thirty years ago, I was told it’s a waste of time trying to be a writer but I never gave up my dream, it may have sat on the back burner for awhile but I have my chance with the New Writers scheme.  I may never be a published author but at least I know I have given my dream a chance.  Don’t let anyone tell you to give up your dreams.

I would like to thank Rebecca Raisin, Aven Ellis, Sophie Hedley and Emma for cheering me on (and putting up with my awful first drafts of my manuscripts).

Thank you Jo for joining me today. If you want to read Jo’s blog you can find her here.


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