Yes, I'm claiming to be a writer. I haven't been properly published; which is substantially true, but are there exceptions? I don't think so, but here, I'll see if I can remember some odd instances.
  • In 1990-ish, I had a short article published in World Soccer Magazine, which did little more than present the final Armenian football league placings of the previous season. As personally grabbed during a visit to the Armenian FA in Yerevan.
  • In 2007 or so, a little writing group I'm part of self-published a collection of short stories to which I contributed four, titled Lancashire Tales. (see below) 
  • In 2015(?) I had a page-and-a-half article published in Horissonti, the then-name of the house magazine of Finn Guild in London, all about Finnish women's ice hockey, along with a couple of pictures and a short glossary of terms. 
There may be other very minor contributions here or there. I'll add them if I can bring them to mind. Am I disappointed, that this doesn't amount to much? Not really, it's entirely down to me isn't it. I mean, although it's certainly not a given that one can get published if one wants, it only takes a moderate degree of effort and some enterprise, to get some articles into print, and maybe some short stories. Provided one doesn't mind not being paid. What's more, in this internet age it's never been easier to get self-published. Recently, some writers have bypassed traditional publishing routes and made good money. Sure, talent and luck definitely help, but there's really only one, 100% mandatory requirement for being a successful writer. And that is to actually write something.

I think I began writing bits of science fiction short stories as a student. Science fiction, because that was what I knew. Generally unfinished, because of a highly self-critical nature, and anyway treating it as a craft I had to gain and improve skills in. The one significant effort I put in was four chapters, 40,000+ words of a novel which would have been just one of several, set in an imagined science fiction world. One or two people I showed it to were nice about it, but they did comment on a few things which I can see I'd have to address if I ever return to that world. You know, I probably spent more time on the world building than on actual story writing. Extensive maps, a detailed city plan, a bestiary, an invented language (along with a couple of computer fonts for it!), a historical outline... Phew.

Naturally, I heard that maxim about the writing habit early on - the one about forcing it to become a habit, and forgetting all fanciful notions of 'waiting for inspiration to strike'. Totally correct, and largely ignored by me. I may have done more writing on websites, than proper story telling. Look at me doing exactly that now!

After moving house, 13/14 years ago, I joined a creative writing evening class, and after a while I did at last have a 'body of work', ie. a number of short stories. When participation in that class had run its course, some of us, friends by now, carried on meeting up and we found a way to publish a collection of our stories, Lancashire Tales Light and Dark. You can find it on Amazon still. Very cheap, great value for money! And we did sell some copies, apart from the ones we gave to everybody for Christmas that year. We did have a very peculiar USP, which was the picture on the front,  taken outside the cafe which we met in at that time. Look carefully and you'll see a white cloaked figure by the steps in the distance. We couldn't explain it: the two who took it were adamant there had been nobody in view at the time. The figure does look very mysterious, I'll grant, but my own inclination was to think that someone had momentarily wandered into view through the gate to the right of the figure. However, it's understandable that others felt something more supernatural had occurred. I digress. A couple of our group later published their own collections, with a little success, and maybe I should have done the same, but let's be frank, I just didn't get my act together.

We still meet up and occasionally galvanise ourselves to write. For myself, I have a good number of finished and unfinished stories. I know if I had to offer them up for inspection, I would feel compelled to work them over all over again. Most of them, anyway. Who knows, maybe having this page here will eventually nudge me into doing something with the stories.


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