Words have always been my thing. When I was little, reading and writing were what came most naturally. New words, interesting words and the jigsaw click of the exact right word to express or describe something were all simple, instinctive pleasures, and still are.
I’ve been making a living out of words for most of the 20-plus years since I left Sheffield University with a First in English Literature. I started my career with a year’s contract as an assistant in the Picture Research department of an illustrated book publishers. Then, in a period when it was taking longer than I’d imagined to get an interesting junior’s job on the words side of making books (not easy to bag at the height of the mid-90’s recession), I said yes to some work assisting a freelance picture researcher, and registered as self-employed.
Over the next few years, working as a freelancer turned out to be a useful means of gaining experience in a range of areas, so I kept going. At first, I combined more picture research jobs with building up my writing and editing portfolio, as well as doing regular business-development work for an architectural photographer. Then, over time, I managed to focus solely on working with words, combining writing and editing on books and other print and online projects (relating mainly to arts and culture) with regular subbing shifts on a number of different consumer magazines.
I now combine producing content for creative and heritage projects, editing work (both fiction and non-fiction) and commercial copywriting – and move happily from print to online and back again. I really enjoy research and the hunt for useful information and stories, and always relish the challenge of weaving together content in a way that enables people to better understand a subject, or to engage with something new.
I’m not only about the words. I’m also interested in history, sociology and psychology (so people’s stories, connections and the ways they make sense of both life and themselves), am drawn to documentary photography, and get a kick out of decent print design, punchy typography and convincing art. I’m also interested in education, and am a parent governor at a Norwich junior school, with special responsibility for Wellbeing. I enjoy life but am happy to admit that it can feel like a complicated business.
I was born in central London, but grew up calling first Torquay then Norwich home. After university in Sheffield, I lived in London for nearly 20 years, then in 2012 moved back to Norwich with my partner, twin boys and a less alarming mortgage.
Thank you for reading all the way to the end – here are some interesting things.