While I was first dabbling with the idea of writing, (not sure if I could, but aware that it was having a profound effect on my mental health), I was awarded the Tyne and Esk ; Writer Of The Year. This was for TheRift, a piece that drew heavily on sights and sounds from my own childhood in Africa. Being an active member of several writing groups has become very important for the camaraderie and support they offer. Regardless of where you are in your own writing story being a member of a writing group would be my first piece of advice.
It is my privilege to lead a writing mother's poetry group for the Scottish Poetry Library, to support emerging and established writers with experiences similar to my own. In the early days of becoming a mother who wrote I muddled through most days grateful if things ran smoothly. Distracted by birdsong, children, and water I soon learnt to write something every day, just like an artist would keep a sketch pad or a musician would practice.
A huge amount of inspiration for my work comes from the environment in which I am fortunate to live, but people inspire me just as much especially if their dedication, enthusiasm, and emotion shines. Residencies and commissions are a great way to interpret an artistic or academic work for a wider audience. I have taken commission on a variety of subjects including orchestra, steam engines and oyster restoration.
Reading is just as important to a writer as listening is to a musician. We are fortunate if we can belong to a library, so I support my own when I can and I volunteer as a lead reader for The Open Book. Reading helps me stretch and learn in terms of style and voice, and gives me confidence to try new forms. Whilst exploring Cyprus, I wrote Nereid. It is described as a 'haunting piece' of flash fiction and won the Federation Of Writers Scotland 'vernal equinox' prize in 2020.
Collaboration and community projects are another vital ingredient in my writing life. I have been lucky to work with musicians, film, radio and artists as well as perform my work regularly on stage. My publisher is also local and in 2019 myself and two other local poets got together with Black Agnes Press to launch our pamphlet, The Weather Looks Promising. My first solo pamphlet was brought out in 2022, Bird Brained, a bird count in poems is a hybrid of poetry and flash fiction.