Writing and Confidence Coaching Vouchers

What’s the one gift your writing self needs from you this Christmas?

Whatever your answer, it’ll come down to time and space to give to the book that’s in you, out of you.

Until Christmas Eve, I’m offering a limited number of Writing and Confidence Coaching Digital Vouchers at just £45 for one hour. Or, if you’d like them printed and part of a unique Christmas card, let me know in your email.

Vouchers must be used by 1 March 2023, or can be transferred as partial payment for any course that starts in January 2023.

Book now!

Focus and Flow: a masterclass in confident creativity

I’m really happy to share that, on Wednesday 9 November, I passed my first ICF exam and am now officially ACC (Associate Certified Coach).

October was quite the month: not only Green Ink Sponsored Write for Macmillan Cancer Support, my first full one as a visiting lecturer at Roehampton University (where I did a module of my PhD in 2017 and my BA twenty years ago!) and the first post-lockdown in-person course at Olympic Studios, but the first anniversary of my cohort beginning our business and personal coaching course. I pursued a coaching qualification so I could know I was giving my coaching clients the best service I could possibly provide. The wealth of skills, techniques, ideas, concepts, colleagues, supervisors and friends was the most personally and professionally enhancing experience I could have asked for. I truly believe the difference in my life and my coaching is already felt by all my clients, friends and family – just as the difference coaching makes in them is experienced by the people in their lives.

Finding coaching meant finding a language and ideology for what was always at the heart of my teaching, lecturing and directing. In the end, it’s all about making that unique story, that unique performance, that unique person, the most themselves they can be. And discovering yours is the root of authentic confidence, of creativity, of clarity in life and work as well as on the page or stage. That’s what my new masterclass Focus and Flow is all about: how to make, instead of hope to find, time and opportunities to live, work and act from your creative mindset.

To start bringing your life, work and art into alignment with the goals and values that make you ‘you’, join me Wednesday 30 Nov, 6.30pm GMT.

Meet the Sponsored Writers 5: Sophie Hannah

I’m Sophie Hannah, I write crime fiction including psychological thrillers, detective fiction and Hercule Poirot continuation novels.   I became involved with the Sponsored Write thanks to Rachel Knightley who is one of my ‘Dream Authors’ — a member of my online coaching programme for writers, Dream Author!

Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

Yes, I’m generally very motivated by a deadline and find the challenge energising. Constraints of any kind, including ones to do with time, can be very inspiring because narrowing down the options forces you to think more creatively. 

Many involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Do you want to share any experience of the charity’s work?

Macmillan Cancer Support provided invaluable help to a friend’s parents when they were dying, it’s an absolutely vital organisation which gives so much support and comfort, I am incredibly impressed by the charity and all the amazing work they do. 

What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

I love it! I’m going to be writing two poems for the anthology: one from the point of view of Wilfred Owen and one from the point of view of Philip Larkin — both will be protesting from beyond the grave about having been ejected from the GCSE poetry anthology!

Meet the Sponsored Writers 4: Penny Jones and Alex Davis

Hi I’m Penny Jones and I’m a part-time writer, part-time nurse and part-time procrastinator, which all in all keeps me busy. I tend to write horror fiction and this is my third year of writing horrible little tales for what is usually a very uplifting anthology. I think I was introduced to Rachel Knightley who organises the Sponsored Write through a mutual friend Steve Shaw who runs Black Shuck Books and who has done all the editing, typesetting, etc for the anthology for the last few years. 

Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

I am useless if I don’t have a deadline. If you send me an invite for an anthology or a request for a manuscript, I will usually have it with you a month prior to the deadline, but as soon as I’m told “Whenever” to deadline queries then that is that, you’ll be lucky if you ever get it. I’m so bad at not having a deadline that I actually utilise the editorial and 1:1 services of another of this year’s writers, Alex Davies, to write the book I’m currently working on. So the time-limit on the Sponsored Write is a godsend for me.

Many involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Do you want to share any experience of the charity’s work?

Touch wood I’ve been lucky enough to never have to utilise the charity personally, though they have been a wonderful resource and support to many of my patients through the years.

What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

My first thought was about the rabbit in the Natural History Museum. It’s an exhibit showing a rabbit dying and rotting and showing how it feeds the earth and brings life back full circle. But as the theme was put forward by the legendary horror author Ramsey Campbell that was quickly followed by my second thought zombies.

Absolutely anything else you’d like to share! 🙂

I’m so excited to yet again be part of such a wonderful fundraising experience, and I look forward to chatting to you all on the day.

I’ve been involved in the writing industries for the better part of twenty years, and that has taken in teaching and workshopping, running events both large and small, one-to-ones and mentoring, editing and proofreading… I studied Creative Writing at the University of Derby and from the minute I left I was determined to explore what could be out there within the wider field, and I feel like I’ve certainly done that in the time since. Being busy has always suited me just fine!

Writing-wise I’ve had a science-fiction novel out, entitled The Last War, but most of my shorts and poetry would be horror and gothic. I’m currently writing a dark fantasy project called ‘The Faceless’, which is part of the PhD I’m currently studying for. It’s one of three novels I’ll be writing looking at different interpretations of the Slendeman creepypasta, and I’m having a blast with it so far.

The Sponsored Write has been on my radar for a number of years – there’s a great community of writers who have always supported it, so it’s been a real pleasure to be involved.

2) Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

Oh, absolutely – my life is full of deadlines in virtually everything I do! The diary is always full and the to do list usually runs over at least a couple of pages. But it’s simply about getting everything done – I don’t think I could manage to work any other way really, because I seem to constantly be juggling so many things at any given time.

The time limit for this one definitely appeals to me, as does the idea of a theme – I’ve always loved writing with that sort of stimulus, something to get you rolling and perhaps take you in a different direction creatively. I’m almost happiest if someone gives me a topic and I can just go off and right to – I know that’s not something everyone loves to do, but it suits me perfectly.

3) Many involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Do you want to share any experience of the charity’s work?

I’m certainly well aware of the brilliant work that MacMillan do, and really pleased to be able to support such a good cause. They’re an absolute lifeline for so many people out there, and it’s wonderful that the Sponsored Write is able to support them.

4) What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

It’s a fascinating one, and has a sort of gentle quality that I really like. Life is always renewing itself day on day and year on year, so there’s a fabulous optimism there. It also speaks in many ways of societal change – nothing is ever settled, and things are always changing in politics, technology, sociology… there’s a very individual human level to it but also something larger than that.

I think it’s also a potentially challenging on for someone who largely writes horror, because of its very optimism.  That’s not to say that I won’t be looking for a dark direction to take it in of course – we’ll just have to see where the imagination goes. But I have a suspicion it might end up being something a little different to my usual, which should be fun and interesting to write.

5) Absolutely anything else you’d like to share! 🙂

I wanted to add a big thanks for the invite to take part – the Sponsored Write is a hugely exciting project producing a great cause, and it’s a pleasure to be included among such  phenomenal range of talent taking part. One of the things I’m looking forward to seeing myself is the variety of stories that come through – one of the things I have always loved is that you can give ten writers the very same stimulus and they will invariably come up with ten wildly different stories. Anthologies like this are, for me, the perfect bottling of the unique creative process we all have – and that’s one of the reasons I love reading them so much. It’s incredible to see directions emerging that would absolutely never have crossed your own mind.

www.justgiving.com/greeninksponnsoredwrite2022

Meet the Sponsored Writers 3: Katharine Orton and Nic Lamont

Hi! I’m Katharine Orton and I’m the author of two books for children, Nevertell and Glassheart, with my latest – a fantasy adventure called Mountainfell, filled with cloud dragons and dangerous magic – set to be published in November ‘22. You may not believe this, but Rachel Knightley, who founded both the Green Ink Writer’s Gym and Sponsored Write, is actually my oldest friend, the two of us having first met as tiddlers in reception class! One day (many years after reception), she very kindly asked if I’d like to take part in this special fundraising idea for Macmillan that she’d had … And I’ve been proudly taking part in the Sponsored Write more or less ever since.

Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

I love deadlines. Much like the late, great Douglas Adams, I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. But letting deadlines zoom past me is absolutely not an option when it comes to the Sponsored Write – so the pressure is on!


Many of the writers involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Are you happy to share your experience of the charity’s work?

Macmillan were an amazing source of support when my mother-in-law lost her partner to pancreatic cancer, and have been a wonderful support to other friends and family over the years. My auntie is also actually a cancer nurse, so I know what an amazing job they do.


What’s it like being in a Sponsored Write?

Fun, rewarding, challenging. Everyone should have a go!



What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

I think it opens up a lot of intriguing possibilities…


Absolutely anything else you’d like to share!

Please support us by donating anything from the price of a coffee to those dusty millions you forgot you had (I know, right, if only!). If you like short stories as much as you like doing a good turn for charity, then this is most definitely for you. And perhaps next year you might even like to take part in the Sponsored Write yourself!

Hello! I’m Nic. I’m an actor, comedian and writer based in Kent. I originally began writing sketches with my comedy partner Adam in our duo The Twins Macabre and we were very lucky to have our work featured on BBC3 and BBC Radio 4. Since then I’ve written dark comedy plays that have been produced in London theatres, and a solo show which is a punk-rock retelling of the life of Mary Shelley. I was so pleased that Rachel got to see my Mary Shelley show and thrilled to be asked to take part in this year’s Sponsored Write! 

Q. Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

I know it’s a bit nerdy… but I do love a deadline! Whenever I want to write a new show, the best way for me to get it done is just to book it in at a theatre and work towards that. I’m somehow both a perfectionist and a bit of a dreamer, so deadlines really help me to stop judging my own work too much or spend too long pondering. So, I’m actually really excited for the time-limit of the Sponsored Write to really focus on what I create. 

Q. Many involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Do you want to share any experience of the charity’s work?

Whilst not direct experience of Macmillan, cancer unfortunately has had an impact on my family in the past and present. Someone very close to me has recently started their own battle with cancer, which makes this cause all the more important to me. I know that Macmillan do incredible work, their values being ‘with strength, with heart, with ambition’ – what a brilliant force of positivity to put into the world. 

Q. What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

What a wonderful theme chosen by Ramsey Campbell! It’s a theme that is both broad and overarching, but very intimate too. We all go through transformations in our lives and they can be earth shatteringly huge, or tiniest everyday shift. I think the pandemic forced everyone to stand still for a second and renew their values, be it in relationships or careers or just buying more houseplants. As someone who has dabbled in many different forms of performing, and having recently become a mother, I feel I am constantly renewing what I do and my role in the world. This is a great theme to spark the imagination and I’m looking forward to what I and the other writers create! 

Q. Absolutely anything else you’d like to share! 🙂

I am excited for this to be taking place in October! Autumn is really my season; I was born in October and am a lover of all things spooky and Halloweenish. A pumpkin-spiced coffee will no doubt be my rocket fuel on the 15th! To find out more about me check out @nic.lamont 

Ghosts, Reflections, Retellings, Social Media, Selves.

Social media can be social. It can connect us. We can make friends, find the people who need our services, find the people whose services we need.

But it can also scare us off, reveal not what is out there but what fears are in here. Not about others so much as about ourselves.

Much like mirrors do, in every👏 single 👏 ghost story 👏 I 👏 have 👏ever👏written!

Mirrors. Seriously. 

Here’s why they scare and fascinate me…

We don’t see ourselves when we look in the mirror. We see a reflection. Something created in response. Never the thing, the person, the place. Even a memory is a recalled perception, never the thing itself. A retelling. 

Each retelling, though, is a new draft, truer to itself than the last. An essential truth even if not a literal one. Like our stories on the page, we are becoming more ourselves each time we learn more about our own story, gain another perspective on it, about who we choose to be and what we choose to learn.

When we look at social media, it can only make us unhappy when we see ourselves instead of the other. 

As if the choices, achievements, joys or sorrows of others are any reflection on us. Or, even if they were, as if it means there’s any less space in the world for our own.

There is space for you, all you can do and all you can be.

The other is not ourselves. Everyone is free to celebrate and share who they are and what they can offer the world. Even your reflection isn’t really you.

But it’s certainly got things to tell you, if you’re ready to listen, and to choose what happens in the next chapter…

Meet the Sponsored Writers 2: Stephen Laws and Jennifer Steil

Hello! Tell us about yourself, your writing and how you discovered the Sponsored Write?

My name’s Stephen Laws. I’m the author of 11 novels, numerous short stories, columnist, reviewer, film-festival interviewer, and lucky enough to have been the recipient of several awards. Peter Cushing loved my novels but hated the bad language therein. Horror actress Ingrid Pitt organised a team search of my hotel room, concentrating on a ‘haunted sock drawer’. Roger Corman bought me a pizza. I made Christopher Lee cry in public. I won second prize in a 1963 ‘Name the Sugar Puff Bear’ competition. My son has a famous godfather in the genre. I play piano, and one of my compositions was performed with full orchestra on a pre-Civil War Yugoslav television ‘variety’ programme. This is all true. You can find my work at www.stephen-laws.com

I was contacted directly about Sponsored Write and was immediately attracted to the idea, not just the concept of writing a story in a day (something that Ray Bradbury claimed he did regularly), but also the charity for which earnings were aimed. 

Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

I’ve always been a deadline person when it comes to novels. When my first novel was published, the contract had an option for a second novel and there was a deadline attached to it – so it certainly sharpened my focus right at the beginning. Deadlines featured continually thereafter, and I’ve always found that helpful rather than a problem. 

Many of the writers involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Are you happy to share your experience of the charity’s work?

I have deep personal connection here, not only my mother and father but also my wife’s mother – and the Macmillan staff were utterly superb at times of great emotional stress.

What’s it like being in a Sponsored Write?

Well, it’s great being in such good company – even if we are working apart and individually! 

What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

I’m not sure. Think I might ask my pal Ramsey if he has any spare ideas that I can use. He thought it up. So, it’s his fault. As soon as I heard about the theme, I decided NOT to think about it and stay true to the spirit of the Sponsored Write initiative. When the subject comes up, as it does now with your question, I try hard to file it away in my head until the day I start writing. I’m probably kidding myself, though. Most writers I know have ‘ideas files’, notepads, undeveloped research material, thoughts, random scribbled moments, newspaper cuttings, odd phrases and words that have intriguing possible associations for stories (There are several on my study shelves right next to me now). It might be that something there will leap to mind when I sit down and start writing. The phrase might just be part of a jigsaw puzzle that connects things I’ve already been thinking about and result in a story. Or not! I might just begin ‘blank’, apply pen to paper and see what comes out. 

Absolutely anything else you’d like to share?

If you’re an aspiring writer and never had anything published, try to write a story in a day. Do yourself a ‘Ray Bradbury’! Give yourself that twenty-four parameter to determine its length. Get it down on paper, don’t worry about shape, form or content – just get a story down. Don’t go back over it too much; just get the story down. And then on the following day you can go back to it. Then you can amend and reshape and cut and add. Go on – give it a try.

Hello! Tell us about yourself, your writing and how you discovered the Sponsored Write?

With pleasure! I’m a memoirist, novelist, essayist, and short story writer who switches countries every few years. I was born in the US, but left in 2006 to take a job as a newspaper editor in Yemen. That job led me to writing my first book, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, a memoir about the hilarity that ensued when I took over a Yemeni newsroom and – more importantly – about my brilliant Yemeni reporters. Just as I was about to leave the country, I met my husband, and ended up staying another three years. Our daughter was born while we lived there, and I began writing my second book, the novel The Ambassador’s Wife. Since then, we’ve lived in London, Bolivia, and Uzbekistan. My third book, Exile Music, was inspired by the Jewish survivors who fled to La Paz to escape the Nazis in the 1930s and 40s. I’ve recently finished another novel set in Bolivia, about a queer community living underground, and am working on one set in Uzbekistan. 

My life was upended in March of this year when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I am in London for treatment, while my husband and daughter remain in Tashkent for work and school respectively. The hardest part is the separation from them. My work has thus slowed a bit as my focus has necessarily changed to surviving long enough to see my daughter through adulthood. 

I met Rachel Knightley at one of the meetings of the novelists’ group of the Society of Authors. I can’t even remember how we first got to know each other, how it all went. I remember ringing her during the first lockdown, when my daughter and I had been evacuated to London, and crying as I walked through a park. And ever since then we see each other when I am in London and when I heard about the Sponsored Write I asked her if I could join! I’m always happy to write in service of a cause.

Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

I love deadlines. I worked as a journalist for some fifteen years before switching to writing books fulltime, and I write so much more so much faster when given a deadline. I wish more people would give me writing deadlines! I’ve long wished my agent would say, I need the next book by such and such a date. Because I would do it. If you don’t tell me when something is due, you may never get it. I love the deadline challenge of the Sponsored Write, because it forces me not to be overly precious with my words and to just get something down. My inner editor barely has time to step in. Which is generally a good thing, at least in a first draft. 

 Many of the writers involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Are you happy to share your experience of the charity’s work?

Absolutely. Last year when I did the Sponsored Write, I had no experience with Macmillan Cancer Support. Now, alas, I have come to rely on them for all manner of help. They have financial advisors who can help with applications for grants and loans, they provide nurses I can ring every day to ask questions or just to cry. They have online support groups. They provide every kind of information pamphlet on every kind of issue cancer patients of call kinds face, from how to manage your sex life during treatment (yes people with cancer sometimes want a sex life!) to what to eat and where to seek help. I don’t know how I would manage without Macmillan. 

What’s it like being in a Sponsored Write?


Last year, I did the Sponsored Write in Tashkent, in my little home office. I enjoyed being challenged to write on a theme, and the adrenaline of the short time period. It was also fun to chat with the other writers at the end. The story I wrote became the first germ of my newest novel. So, not a waste of time!

What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

You’ll find out, if you sponsor us! But I think we could all use some kind of constant renewal, just to survive our broken planet, our broken societies. The planet itself needs constant renewal. The cells of my body could also do with some renewal. But I don’t want to give too much away here. What if I want to use it in a story?

Absolutely anything else you’d like to share!

Please donate if you can, and I promise to do my best to write something you will enjoy reading as part of our anthology! If you’re interested in reading about my cancer – trying to avoid the word journey here – adventures, including my interactions with Macmillan, I’m keeping an online journal on Caring Bridge. https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jennifersteil/journal

It’s ridiculously long and personal and full of unrelated rants, but if you want to know what goes through the mind of one current cancer patient, it will give you that. 

Meet the Sponsored Writers 1: Lisa Morton and Charlotte Bond

Green Ink Sponsored Write is an annual fund-raising event for Macmillan Cancer Support. To be receive the world-exclusive anthology two days after it’s written, visit www.justgiving.com/greeninksponsoredwrite2022

Meet Lisa

I’m Lisa Morton, a writer of screenplay, fiction, and non-fiction. I’m the author of four novels, more than 150 short stories, and a number of non-fiction books on Halloween and the paranormal. 

I discovered Sponsored Write in 2021 when I was invited to participate (thank you!).

Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

Well, yes and no. At this point in my writing career I no longer have time to write things on spec, so nearly everything I write now involves deadlines. On the one hand it keeps me scheduled and motivated; on the other hand, it can lead to some serious rises in blood pressure! I do occasionally miss those days when I wrote solely for myself, but I wouldn’t trade where I am now for anything.

What’s it like being in a Sponsored Write?

I’m one of those writers who likes the challenge of writing to a theme; my goal is always to take the assigned theme and make it over into my own distinct work. Add on the goal of helping a worthwhile charity and (hopefully) creating a new story that will entertain readers, and I end up finding it a very satisfying experience.

What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

I’m not sure yet! Really, at this point I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. I’m also a tremendous fan of Ramsey Campbell, so I  hope to come up with something good!

Absolutely anything else you’d like to share!?

My big book project of this year (which I sadly can’t share yet) has been a huge, very technical endeavor; it’ll be a pleasure to take a break from it to pound out a new short story (which is really my favorite format). Thank you again for the invite.

Meet Charlotte

Hey! I’m Charlotte Bond, and I’m an author, freelance editor and ghostwriter, reviewer, and podcaster. I tend to stick to the realms of horror and dark fantasy for my own work, but I’ve ghostwritten everything from children’s fantasy to romance, YA to cosy mysteries. I review for various websites and I also do a huge chunk of reading for the podcast Breaking the Glass Slipper where I’m a co-host alongside a couple of fabulous women, Megan Leigh and Lucy Hounsom.

I’d seen writer friends do the Sponsored Write before and thought it was a great idea. I was blown away by the camaraderie and enthusiasm all the writers seemed to have in the run up to the day itself. So when Rachel Knightley approached me in 2021 and asked me if I’d like to join in, I immediately said yes! And I’m even more thrilled to be asked back for 2022 (which I guess means I behaved myself well enough last year to be allowed out to play again).

2) Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

Dear Lord, I hate deadlines! But that’s only because I’m the main carer for my daughter, so a deadline can be thrown into utter disarray by a sudden bug at school, or the need to attend sports day, or, you know, homeschool for several months! So while I find deadlines quite useful from a writer’s POV because they help me to focus and avoid procrastination, I always ensure that any deadline I agree to has enough spare capacity in case I end up looking after my daughter due to unforeseen circumstances.

For me, the time-limit for the Sponsored Write is such a unique form of deadline that it makes the whole process take on a different feel. When I think of the writing process, I think of that timeline graph where there’s a big long stretch of procrastination, then panic, then working like crazy, and then the deadline. https://www.beapplied.com/post/procrastinate-your-way-into-your-dream-job-part-1-of-2 But there’s no time to procrastinate with the sponsored write – and no chance to abandon an idea and start a new one if the first one doesn’t work out!

But I have to admit, it gets results. Each writer producing a whole short story in a few hours that almost immediately goes to publication – it’s an amazing achievement all round.

3) Many of the writers involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Do you have experience of the charity’s work?

I don’t personally, but I know plenty of people with cancer who’ve been incredibly grateful for the work of Macmillan. They are a company tackling one of the most important issues in medicine today, and I’m happy to support them for everyone out there – present and future – who faces cancer. 

4) What’s it like being in a Sponsored Write?

It’s really good fun! Even though this year I can’t make the whole day itself, I’ll certainly be logging on to say hi to everyone as it’s such a great atmosphere. Writing can be a lonely business, but events like this remind you that there are other people out there with the same experiences and frustrations as you. It’s a great way to be creative and connect with others. 

5) What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

I think it’s a great choice – well done Ramsey! It’s a theme central to everyone’s life. In so many little ways – as well as big ones – our lives are constantly renewing. There’s no standing still, which can be both invigorating and challenging. 

Sometimes a renewal in life can be welcome, like a snake shedding its old skin. Sometimes it can be painful, as we have to let go of the familiar. But it’s always intriguing, and it’s a great theme for writers to play with. 

You Don’t Have to Burn Out in Order to Shine.

[ AUGUST RECOMMENDED READING!
Catch me being interviewed in the new Black Shuck Books newsletter about my new collection of short stories, coming 2023, and about this year’s Green Ink Sponsored Write for Macmillan Cancer Support. ]

Anybody reading this who’s written anything, ever – from a letter to a shopping list, let alone a book – already knows achieving an 85,000 word-count doesn’t mean ‘reaching’ 85,00 perfect words in their perfect order, falling freely from brain to page.

It means writing way more words than that, cutting them down, rewriting them as other, shorter, better routes to what you see and mean in your head, that you’d never have found without getting it out of your head and onto the pages in the first place. It’s a spiral, not a circle: you’re always getting closer to the truest form of the thing in your mind. But it’s a journey you need to enjoy for its own sake, and not get too fixated on the destination. Much like life off the page, if you wait for it to be perfect before you celebrate it, you’ll be missing a lot of the best bits.

So, was I up to 85,000 when my friend took this picture over cocktails last week? NO, no I was not! But will I be handing more, and better, in as a result on 31 August? YES! Yes, I will! Because I will get there. Because, rather than only ‘reward’ myself with time out, I’m ‘fuelling’ myself with time out. I wouldn’t be the writing coach, or the writer, I am if I didn’t keep an eye on the emotional fuel gauge as well as on the horizon – that’s my job whoever my coachee is, including when it is myself. That way, when I come back to the desk, it will be with clearer, calmer eyes. And when I hand the stories in, they will be good enough. Not perfect. Never perfect. Not ready for publication, even. Because that’s when my editor and I start making them even better.

Because nothing we’ve ever read and loved was ever done completely alone, and we don’t need to burn out in order to shine. Nor do we need to find out if it’s all okay before we celebrate the journey. It will be okay. It probably already is.Green Ink Writers’ Gym students will be joining bestselling, award-winning authors Sophie Hannah, Jennifer Steil, Charlotte Bond and many, many more for a day of sponsored writing fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. I will be writing in memory of my friend Sophie Porter, grandfather Abraham Banks and uncles David and Jeremy Banks.

When you donate to Macmillan through our Justgiving page, every penny goes the charity and you’ll receive a world-exclusive anthology of new stories from the writers. BUT the anthology and the page are only available until the end of the writing day! Please help us help Macmillan Cancer Support, here. 
Is someone you know looking to build confidence and clarity in their life, work and art this autumn? 

Rewire your “what if…” circuitry away from anxiety and towards engagement with your goals, values and personality. Each session will be a mix of practical coaching tools and creative exercises to get you more comfortable in your driving seat for art, work and life.Week 1: Goal-setting
Sometimes a busy or stressful time means dealing with the ‘immediate’ in our lives constantly and the ‘important’ more rarely. This can mean what we want takes a back-seat to what we fear. Today is a chance to connect with each other, reconnect with ourselves and explore relaxing and intriguing coaching tools to focus on what you enjoy, love, value, and what steps can connect your wishes and hopes to your habits and goals for the work, art and life you want. Week 2: Characterisation – in Life and Art!
Who are the characters that we carry in our minds, whose opinions, wishes and values affect our decision-making? Both in our fiction and day-to-day life, today is an opportunity to get to know those voices, ask what they want, and ask yourself whether you still want them as major or minor characters. Enjoy a mix of exercises to bring your own voice out of the chorus, and actively select which voices get to stay in your backing group! Week 3: Plotting – The Story So Far
Today we explore the relationship between character and plot: how events create characters, but also how characters, as they change, change the world around them as a result. Enjoy a mix of practical exercises, story tools and problem-solving activities to make your story grow your way. These techniques will work for decisions on the page as well as those you make in work, at home and with family and friends.Week 4: Time and Place
Today we’ll look at what it means to feel present in your life and story, and how that sense of being present allows you to experience and utilise your time. Make un-rushed, value-centred choices about what you do, how and who you spend your time with and what you give space to in life and on the page. Explore and develop incisive questions for your unique story, on the page and off it!Week 5: Freedom Not Fear: Approaching the Blank Page
When you are clear about your character’s objective, it’s much easier to know what dialogue and actions they will select. This is just as true in life as it is on the page or on the stage. Today, we’ll be using tools, activities and resources to explore self-direction and value-aligned action. Bring “show don’t tell” into your boundaries in work and life, and into the quality of your creative and professional writing.Week 6: Moving Forward
A celebration and summary of the discoveries you’ve made in art, work and life. Requests welcome for any favourite exercises to revisit, as we honour the journeys so far and plan for what happens next. Looking back to goal-setting in week 1, what are the things that were important to you then and how are you going to keep the ‘important’ above water when the ‘immediate’ is all around? 
Book your course or package here.
On the page, in conversation, from email to switchboard to boardroom to treading the boards, clear and confident communication are the world’s most transferable skills. Coaching is a confidential, supportive space to clarify and discover what you want and how to align your choices to your goals. If you want to celebrate who you are and what you mean, I’d love to support you.

All the best,

Rachel 

Dr Rachel Knightley
www.RachelKnightley.comYour Writing and Coaching Community
Membership of any autumn course entitles you not only to your six-week writing course but to as many of our Zoom writing retreats and online socials as you like, as well as 20% off all 1:1 coaching and editorial support booked during your membership. Each writer will have a minimum of two reading slots to present work-in progress for discussion and feedback. You’ll also be emailed full session content for any sessions you miss. Enquire here…

Choose the Ideas that Choose You

I’ve often told people over the years that I’m prouder of passing my driving test than I am of my BA, MA or PhD. 

It’s absolutely not because I liked my driving test the most. In fact, I haven’t used my license for years – because I work from home, because I live in London and because, with the whole of my soul, I hate driving. Many of my friends relish being in control of a vehicle; they feel calmed by the activity of focusing their mind and reactions on the road. I’m repelled by knowing these machines can’t be reasoned with; that I and those around me are at the mercy of mindless button-pushing, with a margin for human error as small as it is deadly! I’d much rather discuss, argue and develop stories and concepts into being, putting something unique in the world that wasn’t there before and never would be if I didn’t develop it. That’s why, at least for me, spending five years on a thesis was always going to be more calming than driving to the supermarket!

Somehow, though, I did it. I suffered for my not-art and passed my theory and practical tests. I have my licence, it’s there (somewhere) in my desk, whether I choose it to be part of my life or not. And because of that, I know something far more important: it is possible to achieve your personal ‘impossible”, and to experience the chain reaction of confidence that begins: “I thought I couldn’t  do that, and I did, so perhaps I can do this next thing too…” Just as the writing and presenting I do for Indicator Films might terrify someone about to do their first work presentation, the right coaching turns an ‘impossible’ into an ‘interesting’, and a dream into a more-than-achievable goal.

If you’re ready to build confidence and grab lifelong tools to keep your voice clear and your choices authentic in work, art and life, Rewire Your What-ifs is for you. Secure your place now or nab a giveaway on Instagram at 6pm tomorrow! 


Rewire your “what if…” circuitry away from anxiety and towards engagement with your goals, values and personality. Each session will be a mix of practical coaching tools and creative exercises to get you more comfortable in your driving seat for art, work and life.
Week 1: Goal-setting
Sometimes a busy or stressful time means dealing with the ‘immediate’ in our lives constantly and the ‘important’ more rarely. This can mean what we want takes a back-seat to what we fear. Today is a chance to connect with each other, reconnect with ourselves and explore relaxing and intriguing coaching tools to focus on what you enjoy, love, value, and what steps can connect your wishes and hopes to your habits and goals for the work, art and life you want. 
Week 2: Characterisation – in Life and Art!
Who are the characters that we carry in our minds, whose opinions, wishes and values affect our decision-making? Both in our fiction and day-to-day life, today is an opportunity to get to know those voices, ask what they want, and ask yourself whether you still want them as major or minor characters. Enjoy a mix of exercises to bring your own voice out of the chorus, and actively select which voices get to stay in your backing group! 
Week 3: Plotting – The Story So Far
Today we explore the relationship between character and plot: how events create characters, but also how characters, as they change, change the world around them as a result. Enjoy a mix of practical exercises, story tools and problem-solving activities to make your story grow your way. These techniques will work for decisions on the page as well as those you make in work, at home and with family and friends.
Week 4: Time and Place
Today we’ll look at what it means to feel present in your life and story, and how that sense of being present allows you to experience and utilise your time. Make un-rushed, value-centred choices about what you do, how and who you spend your time with and what you give space to in life and on the page. Explore and develop incisive questions for your unique story, on the page and off it!
Week 5: Freedom Not Fear: Approaching the Blank Page
When you are clear about your character’s objective, it’s much easier to know what dialogue and actions they will select. This is just as true in life as it is on the page or on the stage. Today, we’ll be using tools, activities and resources to explore self-direction and value-aligned action. Bring “show don’t tell” into your boundaries in work and life, and into the quality of your creative and professional writing.
Week 6: Moving Forward
A celebration and summary of the discoveries you’ve made in art, work and life. Requests welcome for any favourite exercises to revisit, as we honour the journeys so far and plan for what happens next. Looking back to goal-setting in week 1, what are the things that were important to you then and how are you going to keep the ‘important’ above water when the ‘immediate’ is all around?