Anna Read was an attendee of our recent course, ‘Writing Your Way into the Media’ with Shreya Sen Handley. Shreya is a journalist and blogger who has written for a variety of organisations including The Times of India and National Geographic. WYWITM was a six week course designed to develop attendees skills in creative non-fiction, blogging, and writing from personal experience. Here are Anna’s personal reflections on the course.
My life changed completely on Thursday 6th January 2011 at around five o’clock. I was told the nagging toothache I had for the last three months was caused by a cancerous tumour in my salivary gland. The journey I have been on since was a roller coaster of highs and lows. Throughout this, I found writing has helped me find some focus in the ever-changing climate I find myself in.
I realise the cancer world is a very dark one. Not many people document their cancer experience as it normally has a tragic ending. Yet there have been times where there has been light and humour. In the summer of 2016, I attended a summer taster course on blogging at the Nottingham Writer’s Studio. This taster opened my eyes on what I could do with my writing. Following this, I started my blog “Can Daytime TV Cure Cancer?” on WordPress. In the blog, I documented my cancer story by aligning the treatments and the experiences I went through with the daytime TV programmes I watched while I was recuperating.
The blog became popular with my friends and family, but I wanted it to reach a wider audience. So, when I spotted that there was another course at the Nottingham Writer’s Studio about how to write your way into the media, I thought that this would be a good way to learn how to do this.
The course was over six weeks and led by Shreya Sen Handley. We all had very different reasons for doing the course but the experience was invaluable. We looked at how to pitch articles to the media. It was illuminating to find out that you could write about pretty much anything. However, it was important to find the right outlet to pitch it to in order for it to be published.
We looked at creative non-fiction and at blogging. I was shown strategies on how to publicise my blog and very slowly they are working. Since doing the course, there has been an increase in the number of people visiting my blog. Although it is still mostly friends and family, I am beginning to see other people I don’t know, liking what I am writing.
From small seeds grow large trees. Over time I hope my blog will grow and grow. The course has provided me with skills I need to water and feed my blog and help it reach a wider audience.