- I'm a 68-year-old disabled amateur writer living and working in Slough in Berkshire in the UK. I began writing in 1996 after having to retire from my career in the National Health Service due to heart disease. I've had a series of heart attacks and two heart bypass operations. Between 1996 and 2010, I contributed regularly to several UK leisure and lifestyle magazines. Many of these articles can be downloaded from the 'ARCHIVE' section of my website. I've also contributed to some television programmes. I'm a member of the 'Slough Writers Group' which is both interesting and informative. At the moment I'm preparing to start writing factual features for magazines. You can see the articles that have been published in the 'LATEST WORK' section of my website.
Thursday 26 October 2023
Sunday 15 October 2023
A few years ago I wrote an online paper entitled 'Know about what you write'. This deliberately turns the old adage: 'Write about what you know' around to read 'Know about what you write'. Journalists have to do this all the time. A journalist one day may be required to write an article about 'Electric Cars' and directly afterward be expected to write about aspects of people living with 'Learning difficulties'. He or she may never before had to write about these subjects, yet have to, knowlegeably, write about them.
Find out more about these skills based on my own experience, by clicking here.
Hi Writers. I just wanted to bring you 'up to speed' with my progress since I went back to writing non-fiction features for magazines.
First of all I 'brainstormed' for ideas to write about and magazines that would consider submissions from a 'new' freelance writer. I got my ideas by
A) Studying magazines on the shelves of WH Smiths and purchasing a copy of the mags that I thought I could write for.
B) Studying magazines listed in the 2024 editions of 'Writers & Artists Yearbook' (£30 approx) and 'The Writers Handbook' (£20 approx)'.
I compared the listings and found a few 'matches'. There was 'Able' magazine for readers with an interest in disability (physical or mental). Earlier, I'd made contact with 18-year-old Eliot who lived with with autism and other mental health conditions. He was supported by two 'Assistance' dogs. This, I thought, would make a good article for 'Able' magazine. I further realized that it would make a good article for a 'dog' magazine and after some research, it was also accepted by Dogs Today magazine.
More research led me to displays that were going to be exhibited at Gatton Park Country Fair near Reigate. Called 'Newfs in Action' this group displayed and trained Newfoundland dogs rescuing people drowning. I contacted the display organizer and the editor of 'Dogs Today' and both said yes to an illustrated feature for their respective magazines.
In August and September, the articles appeared 'in print'. Seeing the magazines to which you've contributed on the shelves of WH Smiths and other stationers, gives a great feeling of satisfaction. A great buzz. It's also a fantastic feeling to know that YOUR ARTICLE will be read by approximately 100,000 people.
It's a typical weekend with nothing on television.
I'd planned to do nothing this weekend, but I can't relax throughout it, or do nothing.
So I'm listening to and taking notes from 'The Organised Writer'. My 'bum' continues to be painful, so I've searched Amazon for a 'donut-shaped cushion. Let's see if it works.
I'm also spending my time searching for information about the course I'm starting on 31st October 2023 'Writing for Magazines':Writing for Magazines .
I'm also taking a look at the following websites that have been flagged up in 'The Organised Writer':
I've studied the above links briefly and have deduced that some of them may possibly be of interest to a greater or lesser degree. However, I take no responsibility for the content contained therein.
Good day fellow scribblers! Have a good week! Richard
Saturday 14 October 2023
I'd planned on doing nothing but relax today, but it wasn't to be! Last night I fell asleep listening to the audiobook 'The Organised Writer' by Anthony Johnson.
Friday 13 October 2023
Hopefully not an unlucky Friday 13th
I'm continuing to research and find people who use BullyXL dogs as 'assistance' or 'companion' dogs. How will the forthcoming ban affect their lives?
Maybe it's a result of it being Friday the 13th, but today I'm experiencing symptoms of my AF diagnosis. Every so often, my heart starts thumping fast and I feel 'fluttering' in my chest and neck. If this is also of concern to you, please visit the AF Association website at https://heartrhythmalliance.org/afa/uk/ or check out the NHS website information pages on AF: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atrial-fibrillation/
I'm going with Simon to Georgie's, his mother's. We're going to get working and 'set-up' her bedroom television.
I'm planning not to do much 'work' this weekend. Instead, I plan on listening more carefully to the audiobook 'The Organised Writer'. I've had it on in the background but it didn't really 'go in'. This time, I'm going to listen without distractions.
Thursday 12 October 2023
I'm continuing to research material for outlets and magazine articles.
Using Facebook Groups, I'm appealing to people who have responded to my posting regarding 'assistance' to get in touch. None have answered via email, so I'm asking them to answer questions in 'Messenger'. Here is what I've asked them:-
Thank you for responding to my posting. I’m writing a feature about how the forthcoming ban will affect people in your position. If you prefer not to email me ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) I would be very grateful if you would post some information here in messenger.
How would you like your name to appear?
Whereabouts in the country are you (town, city or region)?
Please tell me about the person who is supported by your ‘assistance’ dog, including gender, age, disability etc.
Please tell me about your ‘assistance’ dog.
How does your ‘assistance’ dog provide. support.
Please tell me about incidents when your dog has provided ‘special’ support.
How will the forthcoming ban affect the person supported.
Please tell me anything else that you think I and the readers would find interesting.
If possible, I would like to conduct a telephone interview. Could you tell me your telephone number? Mine is 07503 628 679.
Thank you for your responses. I look forward to hearing from you. Richard.
BTW If the above applies to you, please answer as many of the questions as you can in an email to me at email@example.com
I hope that the above will elicit some responses.
Tuesday 10 October 2023
Here is a list of my new commissions.
- Volunteering with Dogs Today. (National Volunteers Week June 2024)
- People owning resued large breed crosses and how the forthcoming ban on XL Bully's will affect them.
- Following someone who has had a terrible incident of their dog being attacked by a Bully XL
- Following a genuine pet detective and his extraordinary stories.
Saturday 7 October 2023
I'm sometimes asked how I come up with ideas and where to publish them. It varies.
When I started writing for magazines in 1996, I tried out the suggestions made to me by writer Gordon Wells. An established writer, Gordon suggested that I made a list of everyone in my life, starting with family members. He recommended that I would come across stories relating to these people. I did this, and remembered that my grandfather George Wiseman, had a horse drawn narrowboat collecting milk for Cadbury in the 1920’s. To cut a long story short, this led to my article ‘Chocolate on the Shroppie’ being published in Canal & Riverboat magazine.
Other stories came in different ways. I approached a number of different magazines offering to write reviews of websites relating to their speciality. I had around eight commissions including ‘Skin Deep’ magazine and ‘Mad about Dogs’ magazine. Another success were three website reviews for ‘The Art of Bonsai and Japanese Gardens’ magazines.
Another way of finding potential outlets for feature articles is by studying the current editions of the ‘Writers & Artists Yearbook’ and ‘The Writers Handbook’. The most recent ‘leads’ gained from the former was ‘Dogs Today’ magazine. See the ‘LATEST WORK’ section of my website.
I sometimes put an ‘appeal’ to hear from people in Facebook groups and pages. This was the case when I asked for suggestions from people using ‘Assistance dogs’. This led to the feature in ‘Dogs Today’ and ‘Able’ magazines about 18-year-old non-binary and autistic Eliot Best.
Another possibility is that people simply suggest ideas to me and this is where you come in. Do you have an idea that might interest me? Alternatively, do you know of a publication looking for freelance contributions? If so, please send me details at firstname.lastname@example.org . I would of course acknowledge your assistance.
But of course, the most rewarding way is for you to write the article yourself. If you need some basic guidance, please see me online article ‘Writing for Magazines’ which you can find at: http://www.richardhill.co.uk/talks/
Best of luck!
Friday 6 October 2023
Sorry for the lateness in posting this. I'm still having difficulties getting around. I can only take short slow steps with a walking frame.
I've been researching possible outlets for feature articles. I'm using the 2024 editions of the 'Writers & Artists Yearbook' and the 'Writers Handbook'. I'm also going online to search for magazine publishers.
I've written an article entitled 'Ghosts on the Waterways'. I had intended to submit it to a 'Waterways' magazine, but I've missed the deadline for an edition that coincides with Halloween, so I'll submit it next year. My writer's group, Slough Writers, is holding a 'manuscript evening' next Monday evening where members read out each other's manuscripts. I'm having mine read out by Lorraine. It may cause a couple of problems reading out two Welsh placenames: 'Llangollen' and 'Pontcysyllte'.
I've been in touch with my local 'Smoking Cessation' team in Slough. I only smoke one or two cigarettes a day, but really want to give up. And I 'vape' which I also want to give up.
I'm really well cared for and supported by my partner, Simon. He does everything.
Tomorrow, I'm going to try and get into the passenger seat of the car. I've had some advice from a friend who had a hip replacement a year or two ago. She told me that the best way was to 'reverse' into the seat and then swing my bad leg around and then my good leg. Keep your fingers crossed.
Watch this space!