Contact details

As well as being a freelance writer I am also a qualified counsellor and I work for a low cost counselling service in Exeter and for the NHS Gender Clinic also in Exeter.

Simultaneously, I work as a Disability Member of the First Tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber sitting on disability benefit tribunals on an ad hoc basis.

As a writer I specialise in writing about disability and health.

My articles have been published in the Guardian, Times, OUCH! [BBC disability website], Disability Now, Broadcast, Lifestyle [Motability magazine], The Practising Midwife, 'Junior, Pregnancy & Baby', Writers' News, Able, Getting There [Transport for London magazine], Junior, Community Care, DPPi [Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood International]. I have also had articles commissioned by Daily Mail.

For more information about me and for examples of my writing please see below.

If you would like me to write an article for your publication, about any aspect of disability, please do get in touch:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pitching article ideas

I've set up this blog, waded through the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook to identify potential magazines I could write for and done a big e mail out to disability organisations up and down the country asking to be put on their press release lists so I can get my finger on the disability pulse. So things are slowly but surely starting to move in the right direction.

Quite a few press offices have already got back to me with ideas that could be turned into potential articles and their enthusiasm has been encouraging.

In fact I've already sent in a couple of pitches but rather than just sit back and wait for any response to them I'm determined to keep up the momentum and continue researching for further ideas. At times it does feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything right now I have to say!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Writing a children's book

I'm kind of wanting to simultaneously - alongside writing more articles, looking after 2 small children and trying to have a life - write a Children's book.

Consequently I was a little bit gutted today because I snatched a few moments to do a bit of "what's hot and what's not" on the children's book front only to find a book called "Little Archie"; in fact not just a book, a whole series of books about how a boy gets shrunk to a few inches and then gets into all sorts of trouble.

OK it's not exactly the idea I had but it's probably too similar for me to get away with writing any sort of story about a little boy called Archie who gets into big trouble....

The question is whether I can make my idea sufficiently different. I have ordered one of the offending titles and will see what it has to say for itself before I deduce whether or not it's back to the drawing [or is that writing] board or not. The perils of publishing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Eastenders hits the disability jackpot?

All of a sudden it seems Eastenders has gone from ignoring the fact that 10% of the population has some sort of disability to embracing the idea head on, at least in the child population of the programme anyway.

First enter Ben, son of Phil Mitchell, who has a hearing impairment [though I thought he was surprisingly good at hearing even at a whisper when his hearing aid was broken by the evil Stella] and then Janet, Honey and Billy's daughter who has Down's Syndrome. And now - Penny Branning, daughter of Jack Branning who turns out to be a wheelchair user.

Is she set to become a key albeit another disabled child character in the series or does her brief appearance mean Eastenders can tick the "featured a wheelchair user" box for 2008 [or is that 1988 - 2008?]?

Of course if she is brought into the square I'm sure she'll be being played by a real wheelchair user.... Umm.

Disability sucks - but only sometimes!

I have the most adorable, chatty, smart, cute, witty 3 year old you could wish for. He has another defining characteristic - he's disabled, with the same disability as me.

Sometimes I've found myself looking at him recently as he grows into a 'proper' boy and feeling really sad because in spite of all his wonderful positive characteristics I know there will be times when he will hate being disabled. Maybe he'll even hate me for passing it on too?

But the really galling thing about this is that I still don't think it's a bad thing to be disabled overall it's just that other people make it FEEL like it's a bad thing [forgetting rubbish access for a moment here....].

If only we could get rid of that 'it must be dreadful to be disabled' attitude then disability would never suck. But will that, could that ever happen?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Teenage Pregnancy

Nearly overdosed on teen pregnancy programmes last night after watching "Baby Borrowers on Holiday" and "Born Survivors - Kizzy: Mum at 14" both on BBC Three.

Baby Borrows is the sort of programme that has you yelling at the TV "don't do it, have a life not children". OK children are a life but they are all consuming and a tie - one you don't need to have until you are well and truely ready for it. Besides half the couples on this programme don't even like each other; I really hope they just split up and go and have some fun.

Kizzy was a bit different. By her own admission getting pregnant was a mistake but with the help of her family she seemed to be getting on with it with a maturity beyond her years.

It's impossible to say whether her life would have been better if she hadn't had had a baby at 14, it certainly would have been very different but you can never truely say in what way. But what you can say is good on Kizzy for trying to give her baby the best possible start in life. Unlike the baby's so called father who fled to Essex when he found out Kizzy was pregnant...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Year - new year resolution to write more

Actually already half way through the first month of the year - where does the time go?

I think my biggest New Year's resolution is to proactively write more, seek out those commissions and gain a reputation in the disability niche I have chosen. That's not to say I won't write about anything else of course because writing is really all about the research and that has always been one of my fortes.

The first part of this plan was to get this blog up and running [perhaps that's where the last two weeks have gone!]. It will evolve but it's most of the way there now in terms of additional content.

The second part of this plan is to draw up a list of magazines/papers etc to write for, potential ideas and potential resources. I'm currently working on this. Then I can do the third part which is to start contacting the magazines/papers about whether they want ideas and if so, the ideas I have.

It's all about confidence though. At the moment it feels very much like a new blank canvas, I know it shouldn't feel that way as I've got bags of experience of writing but I guess now I'm saying, like thousands of others out there, that I want to make the move towards being a full time writer.

Let the resolution begin!