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Ruth Cameron |Student with The Writers Bureau – become a published writer

Writing for pleasure – and profit

Having written for pleasure for many years, I never had much of an interest in taking up a formal course. Indeed I had the feeling that to do so might reduce the enjoyment I had for writing and make it more of a chore. What finally attracted me to the Writer’s Bureau Comprehensive Writing Course was the lure of an attractive offer – a money back guarantee. ‘That’s for me’, I thought. ‘I’ll give it a go!’

When I started the course I was immediately a bit put out to see that the initial part concerned non-fiction writing. Although I could have made a special request to start with fiction writing, I thought, ‘No’. I would stick with the programme and get the non-fiction bit out of the way.

I had only completed a couple of the assignments and sent off a few little pieces here and there when lo and behold I got an email from one of the sub editors at the Nursing Standard telling me that she enjoyed my article and would I mind if she included it in the next issue? I’ve got to say that I sat for a considerable time at my computer screen, mouth agape ‘Would I mind?’ Indeed I would not mind.

My article duly appeared in the Nursing Standard, a National, and well respected Nursing journal. One of my neighbours, another nurse, approached me in the supermarket and asked if that was my article. ‘Most impressed,’ she said. Another colleague sidled up to me in the hospital canteen. ‘You didn’t write an article for the Nursing Standard did you?’ I nodded, smiling modestly, but inside I was anything but modest. Anyway, I settled back into my humdrum life and though I had sent a second article into the Nursing Standard, nothing came of it. Trying a third was merely a paper exercise, I thought, but no. Another email appeared from a different sub-editor. My article was a bit long she said and would require a bit of editing but she would like to publish it the careers section of the Nursing Standard. I was overjoyed. The edited version was duly published and I was filled with delight to see that it formed a full page article with an added illustration and my name prominent as its author. Well, was I chuffed?

Since then I have had two further articles printed in the Nursing Standard and although I did not receive payment for any of these articles and although my initial attraction to the writing course was the mercenary lure of a money back guarantee, all that is now of the most miniscule relevance. I have seen my name on the printed page, I have been recognised in the supermarket, my article appeared cheek by jowl with one written by Peter Carter, Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary, two different sub-editors of a National professional journal liked my work and one of then even asked if I would care to give a talk at the annual Royal College of Nursing careers fair at the SECC in Glasgow. All that and I’m not even half way through the course and the bit I’m doing at present is not even the type of writing that I joined up for in the first place.

So, what’s next? Well, I can definitely detect a gentle coaxing from my patient and kindly tutor Colin to broaden my horizons, so that’s what I’m going to do. My next challenge is to try to get something published in a different type of magazine and who knows, maybe get a few shekels into the bargain.