The Power Of Accountability: Why I Need A Regular Date With My Writer Friends


Over ten years ago, I reluctantly went along to a writing group meeting, persuaded by my partner and not planning to go more than once. But that writing group was the reason I ever managed to finish my novel, and now they’re a solid group of friends who continue to make me a better writer. We all lived in London at that time, and used to meet fortnightly. Now that all but one of us has moved away, it’s been difficult to figure out how we can continue to benefit from writing meet-ups, but, thanks to the power of technology, we’re slowly falling into a pattern of monthly video meetings. Having those regular sessions is the reason I need to make sure my own personal projects still get time devoted to them.

The power of having another person – or group of people – know your goals is an incredible motivator. Being accountable for the things that no one’s making me do, that no one’s paying me to do, is exactly what I need to feel I can carve out the time for my own projects. In the case of The Family Tree, it’s being part of a team and having a listenership; in the case of my flash fiction collection, it’s having my writing group there to remind me that there’s a thing I’m supposed to be doing and that I’m doing it because I want to.

Writing is a solitary pursuit, and for me at the moment, it can be difficult to prioritise personal projects while I’m trying to kick-start a new career. Having my writing friends to hold me accountable is going to be an essential part of the process, and I’m endlessly thankful for that first evening that I never wanted to attend all those years ago.

Celebrating The Tiniest Of Stories


Yesterday was National Flash Fiction Day, established to celebrate and showcase the shortest of stories. I’m a very big fan of flash fiction: I love the power of a small amount of words to tell a big story. Flash is challenging to write and immensely satisfying to read, but it’s often overlooked as a genre.

Each year, the organisers of NFFD host ‘Flash Flood’, posting a flood of short fiction on their site throughout the whole day; this year’s theme was ‘epiphany’. The flood showcases work from a huge range of writers whose work might otherwise not be seen, which is, I think, a wonderful way of celebrating the form, and leaves a wealth of stories online for readers.

Writers across the country organise regional events for the day, and the organisers publish an anthology. This year’s anthology is And We Pass Through, and is edited by Santino Prinzi and Joanna Campbell. I’m delighted that my own story, Beacons of the Bay, is included, and I’m in the company of some flash writers I admire enormously, including Vanessa Gebbie, Sarah Salway and Joanna Campbell – but these writers are just a small sample of the brilliant writers included, and readers have a lot to look forward to in this book.

I’m a day late in my celebrations, but just as people are important even when it isn’t their birthday, flash is there to be appreciated every day of the year. And if you order the anthology, you can indulge in it whenever you’d like… so I say, do that!