A big hug and many thanks to the lovely Kirsty Logan for including me in her Mentee special today. Since January, she’s been hosting the work of her mentees from The WoMentoring Project, which is the brainchild of the equally lovely, Kerry Hudson. Today, it’s my turn to appear on Kirsty’s blog and I couldn’t be more grateful for her generosity.

When I first met Kirsty in 2014, I was on the brink of giving up my writing forever. I’d allowed myself to become so buried by rejection that I  couldn’t see a way forward. So, I applied to The WoMentoring Project and decided that, should Kirsty not accept my application, it would be a ‘sign’ from the universe that I should stop being silly and pack it all in. That’s the thing. Us female, working class writers can feel stupid about writing at all. Like, creative writing is something that other people do and that, somehow, we’re getting above our stations by trying to write our stories in our own voices.

So, I argued with myself that, should this talented and experienced writer –  one who shares my interest in Scottish folklore and dark fairy tales – if even she thought I was rubbish, then I’d have to accept that writing wasn’t my ‘thing’. In that case, I thought I would just…Well, I don’t know what I would have done without my writing, but I do know that I wouldn’t have been an authentic ‘me’.

But, at 07:56 on 18th June 2014, Kirsty sent me an email back saying, ‘I choose you!’ and my little writing light switched itself back on. From then on,  I was resolved to knuckle down, grow a thicker skin, and keep on writing, no matter what.

Kirsty was so kind, supportive, and knowledgeable throughout the WoMentoring process. She was always interested in my work and my plans for my work. She was funny and she was honest. She also suggested books that might help me with craft. Most importantly of all, she gave me the tools to develop my confidence as a writer.

So, once I had the confidence to take my writing seriously, I found that everyone else took it seriously too. Now, when people ask me what I do, I say, ‘Oh, I’m a writer,’ and I say so without mumbling or turning purple. Yes, I’m a writer. I write things. Writing makes me happy.

So without The WoMentoring Project, and the support of such a generous mentor like Kirsty, my life would have gone in a completely different – and completely wrong – direction.

I’m a few years down the line now and my circumstances have changed. I’m half-way through the MLitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow, which Kirsty, very kindly, ageed to write a reference for. It’s been a tough ride, but it has stretched me as a writer in all sorts of unexpected ways. However, without WoMentoring, without Kirsty in particular, I’d probably be back working in an office, typing out somebody else’s words, instead of writing my own.

So, thank you, Kirsty. Thank you, Kerry. Thank you for all your hard work. Ladies, you’ve made a big difference to my life.

 

NB: Kirsty is now open again for WoMentoring applications.  Click here for details.

Photograph by davidpwhelan at Morguefile.com