Learning how to make a living from a career in writing

Prior to securing a place on the New Writer Development Programme, Helen was working for the regional development agency, and had no previous experience within the creative industries.  Her goal was to develop her skills in order to earn some or all of her living from writing.

When awarded a place on the programme, Helen felt excited about the future and pleased to have been selected.  She hoped that participation would enable her to network with other writers, learn from experienced practitioners, make the time to develop her writing skills, and teach her to develop the discipline of having to produce work under time pressure.  These benefits were very important to Helen.

On the course, Helen received information about the financial aspects of being self-employed; ways of making a living from writing (e.g. delivering workshops and courses); and how to apply for funding.  She also benefited from organised networking events, public performance experience, and mentoring from the Tutors.  Helen feels that the contact with fellow practitioners is invaluable, and that as traditionally the creative industries is not a well-paid career option, for those interested in pursuing a career in this sector all of the help they were given will be valuable and well-used “It is practical, useful stuff that no-one else will tell you!”

“The programme has had a big impact on my life, both personally and professionally.  I have grown in confidence, I now consider myself a writer and I also recognise that it IS possible to earn a living from writing.  I have made a lot of important and useful contacts within the region and within the sector.  As a direct result of the confidence I have gained from taking part in the programme, I entered a poetry competition which I won and thus became Poet Laureate for Warwick for 2006-7”.

Over the next six months Helen will be undertaking more freelance poetry work, and will be applying for funding for a project that she has in mind.  Helen has been able to earn money from her writing talent through paid commissions.

“I now view myself as a writer – because that is how I was treated on the scheme – and as such I have the confidence to fulfil my ambition, which is to make my living from writing and from within the Creative Industries”.


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Phil and Ben

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Joining a network of diverse, dynamic and talented writers



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New business insights means growth for a creative business