They say most people have a book inside them.
They say you can’t learn to write.
But I did.
Who am I?
My first book won a couple of prizes and that and the other three which followed got onto a few lists including the Man Booker, and were published internationally by Simon & Schuster and Penguin and others and reviewed internationally to critical acclaim.
Twenty years ago – when I had time enough to stalk and grill the likes of Seamus Heaney, Ian McEwan and later Gore Vidal. I’m still learning. Every damn day. I’ve been writing for twenty years now.
And I was so sick to death of writing alone this time last year, I’m ashamed to say I even gave up drinking.
Then it came to me at the beginning of this year; there’s no reason to do this alone in vainglorious semi-squalour! How come everyone else in the world is pretending to work together, sharing their learning, collaborating across digital platforms with heedless immodesty, but we ‘serious’ writers are still typing in the same underpants we were wearing in 1992?
So I started Kritikme
I said to my friend Tim, who is an award-winning novelist, ‘I’m going to write a novel in 90 days and I’m going to teach other writers to do it at the same time. Have them look over my shoulder, you know.’ He said, ‘You’re nuts.’
But then The Bookseller and Mslexia said they liked it and the writers came.
It nearly killed me. It was great.
For ninety days, I was writing my own novel at dawn and reading the ‘hero’ texts last thing at night. I was recording the v-logs on my way to one of my two day jobs, and writing the day’s lesson in the evening. I was mainlining writers like Kerouac, Muriel Spark and John Fowles because for part of the course I was teaching from books written in four weeks. But it was great because my writers were, goddamn it, ‘interacting’ with me! And I discovered there were six natural phases to the first draft of a novel.
Now there are quite a few of us.
Some of our members are published authors and some are aspiring. Our members are journalists, critics, lawyers, doctors, creatives, and professional mums on maternity leave. About 95% of them are women. (As they say, if you want a novel done, give it to a busy woman.) You can have a day job, feed the kids, and write a novel, and you should. It feels good.
The course is more ‘reality’ show than text book, like watching a plumber fix a leak rather than reading a guide book on the subject. The course can be started anytime. We have ‘fabulous darling’ reviews from our users at our Facebook page.
I’ve written my fifth novel live at Kritikme. When you sign up you get to look over my shoulder and write along with me. Life’s not at all roses.
‘The mint green bathroom fixtures were right out in the open. Billy got off his lounge chair now, went into the bathroom and took a leak. The crowd went wild.’ – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five.