• Mike Gould

Jack of all trades?


So, let’s make it clear I’m not claiming to be Anthony Trollope, pictured here in this early cartoon. But we share at least one thing about our writing careers. He spent much of his life in employment, in his case with the Post Office, while his novels began to gain traction. My route was via teaching, my first writing beginning as sets of resource sheets for struggling English teachers - or perhaps I should say struggling students.


And to some extent whilst most of my current daily work is involved with writing, it is generally a particular type - educational materials such as student textbooks, revision guides etc, that pay the bills.


I am extremely fortunate to make a living this way. Let’s face it, it’s not real work, is it? Nothing like the daily pressure of the classroom . To some extent, I’m a gun for hire, a jack of all trades - choose your own analogy. I can write in quite a few styles and for a range of readers, of a variety of ages.


At the moment, the net I’m casting is even wider. I’ve submitted a poem and a short story to the local writing group’s annual anthology; I’ve sent off a Beckett-style duologue to a small London theatre putting on a showcase; I‘m still tweaking the fantasy thing and have written the first two chapters of my YA fiction.


Writing seems to have chosen me and now I can’t get free, even if I wanted to.


So, this is a shout-out (as the kids say) to all my fellow invisible writers, either beavering away in non-writing jobs or making a living by putting pen to whatever paper is shoved under their noses. We can’t all be Trollope, but we’re all bent over our desks or tapping the keyboard in our own version of Barchester Towers, honing and promoting our various trades.

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