For more than 30 years, Sheryl Garratt has earned her living as a writer. Starting off at the NME while still at school, she moved on and up quickly, becoming editor of The Face and then the Observer magazine.
Having now left office politics altogether, she’s returned to freelancing, writing for the Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Elle, GQ and Vanity Fair amongst others.
Join us in our final Writing Journey workshop on 7 December as Sheryl shows us some of the many Routes into Writing.
What will you be doing in your Routes into Writing session?
I’ll be talking about how I’ve earned a living as a writer for more than 40 years. How I got into journalism as a teenager from Birmingham with no contacts. And the routes into writing that are open for young people now. People will tell you that it’s impossible to make money from writing these days. And it’s not. I’m not saying it’s easy, but if writing is what you love, what you want to do, don’t let anyone convince you that it’s impossible.
How can your style of writing help young people?
On my blog, I’m aiming to offer help and advice to creatives of all kinds – writers, artists, designers, musicians, makers. If anything is going to save the world at this point, it’s our brilliant, beautiful human creativity. We’re meant to create things, not just consume more and more stuff.
My generation hasn’t done a great job of looking after our planet, our people. We need younger people to find their own authentic voices, their words, their creative powers – and show us the way forward.
How has it helped you?
Writing is how I make sense of the world. When I’m upset, frustrated, angry or just in a bad mood, I write my way out of it. When I’m struggling to understand something, I write it out, explaining it all as if I were teaching it to someone else. When I don’t know what I think about something, I write about it from as many different perspectives and points of view as I can.
Writing just feels like my safe space, and I’m not right on days when I haven’t written at least a little.
Do you have any general writing advice for young people?
You don’t have to earn money from your writing to be a ‘real’ writer. You just need to write. Every day, if you can.
Keep a diary or journal. Write fan fiction. Write a blog. Write about things you love, things you hate. Tell stories. Write poems. Review bands, podcasts, computer games, trainers, makeup, TV, sports, food – anything you’re passionate about. Just keep writing, and you’ll get better at it.
But if you want to make a living at it, or build an audience for what you’re writing, you’ve also got to put your work out there and I’ll give tips on how to do that in my session.
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Are you 18 – 25 and not in training, education or employment? Then be sure to take part in Sheryl’s workshop on 7 December by emailing email@example.com. For more information, see our Writing Journey blog.