Hey all. I am a brand new member. Ali, 38 from Liverpool UK.

I am writing this so I can have a record of it and also in the hope that it will hold me accountable for reaching my goals.

I am 38 years old and have always been a writer and a reader. But I have never done anything with it. I started a degree in English and Creative Writing in 2002 and left after a year to have a baby and get married. It took me a long, l o n g , time to complete my degree as I had 4 kids, got diagnosed bipolar and with several auto immune diseases BUT via home study I got my BA degree in the summer of 2017. I had taken so long, and barely gave any effort to it as I was so jaded so it was a massive shock when it ended after 15 years. I felt awful for not getting a better grade (2;2). I promised myself I would do better so now I am now doing a full time MA degree in Creative Writing at a red brick University and gaining much better grades.

It has been totally and utterly life changing for me! Being around other writers in a workshop setting has breathed a whole new vigor into both me and my work and I am churning it out at a rate of knots. I have been so totally transformed by this experience in the last 16 weeks that I am hoping to do my PhD next year and possibly even start teaching at the same university. I am submitting work for publication but only short stories and the like. Being bipolar it has its challenges, I struggle to stick to to timetables for my own work but find it much easier to stick to academic goals where I am submitting to deadlines. So the idea is to use my MA manuscript to secure an agent and then develop it further into a cohesive piece for publication. The same would apply to my final creative piece for my PhD.

I am finding that it is much easier to have faith in my abilities since I have been around other writers and I am hoping this forum will give me the same sort of buddy group to give and receive the feedback that I have found is so essential, starting now and continuing once my course ends.