Monday, 2 February 2015

Bag a bargain!

Sally Jenkins

I’d like to introduce you to my writing friend Sally Jenkins. We’ve known each other for about four years now and, along with several other writers, meet up about every three months in Birmingham. She was also a beta reader for my novel ‘A Suitable Young Man’ for which I was very grateful. As she’s so knowledgeable about writing matters, I asked her to tell me how she came to be writing and what it means to her.

Thank you for inviting me onto your blog, Anne. I’ve been writing for around twenty years. My books aren’t on the shelves of Waterstones, I haven’t won a prestigious, international prize and virtually no one has heard of me. So why, you may wonder, do I still churn out the words? Indeed, why did I start writing in the first place?

When my eldest daughter was a toddler, I, being the insecure type, bought a lot of parenting magazines in order to learn how to be a mother. As my confidence in maternal matters grew, I began to think that I could write articles for these magazines. So I began a correspondence course with The Writers’ Bureau in order to learn how to do it properly. I had some initial success with readers’ letters in magazines and a short piece in This England. Then I targeted those parenting magazines - and had a handful of articles accepted! Baby number two came along, we moved house and I was working three days a week as a computer programmer. Writing time was scarce. I never gave up completely but for a number of years my output was restricted to letters and the odd article.

As the children grew up and became less demanding I started writing short stories for women’s magazines. It’s a hard market to crack and I was overjoyed when I made a sale to the Yours annual and then another to People’s Friend. By now I was reading a lot of writing magazines (that insecurity again!) and eventually thought I could write an article to help other writers. I’d been fairly successful with readers’ letters so I produced a ‘how to’ feature on this topic. Writers’ Forum accepted it and that was a great confidence boost. Since then my articles have appeared in Writing Magazine, Freelance Market News and The New Writer (which has, sadly, now ceased publication).

But the real turning point for me came around five years ago, when I met my writing buddy, Helen Yendall, at a day course on writing fiction for women’s magazines. Since then we have exchanged work once a fortnight for critique and that brought a real discipline into my writing life. In January 2013 I published my first e-anthology of short stories and several more e-publications have followed, both fiction and non-fiction.

I continue to write because I am addicted to that feeling of satisfaction generated by completing a piece and submitting it to a potential market. I am addicted to the high of seeing my name in a magazine or receiving a 5-star Amazon review. I am addicted to the camaraderie I’ve found with other writers, both virtually and in the real world. I’m sure I’m not the only one addicted to writing, am I?

What Sally isn’t mentioning is that she has had considerable success in getting her short stories and writing how-to articles published nationally. Her well-reviewed e-book The Museum of Fractured Lives (Omnibus Edition) is only 99p from February 2nd to 8th inclusive. As she says herself on her blog, 'This e-book is a compelling collection of four emotive long stories. Each one is perfect for filling a lunch break, coffee break or commute to work. Dip into this collection and escape into someone else’s life, experience their ups and downs, joys and sorrows.' Her blogs about writing are always popular and you can find her at



  1. Thank you for inviting me on your blog, Anne. It's lovely to travel around the blogosphere and talk writing.

    1. You're welcome, Sally. You were my first guest so I'm especially thrilled. Hope we get lots of hits!

  2. Thanks for the mention, Sally! I may have been your writing buddy for the last 5 years but I still learned something new about you from this!

    1. Happy to oblige, Helen! Glad you enjoyed Sally's blog.