How and why did I become a copywriter or take on a freelance writer job, I wondered the other day when my business cards arrived.

As Michael Caine said – I think he said it – “It’s a funny old world.”

I’ve become one of those damning teacher statistics, one of the 53% who’ve left teaching. Apparently, new entrants to PGCEs have plummeted and teachers of my generation are packing in – sometimes willingly, sometimes not. More about that in January. The freelance writer job begins in earnest in January when various career baggage can be boxed and put in the loft, along with the Christmas decorations.

So far it is very satisfying and I’ve yet to find it mired in futility, unlike teaching say “Of Mice and Men” for 27 years.

Time for a bit of vainglorious bullet pointing about my journey from womb to a freelance writer job, a “This is Your Life” (showing my age) if you like without the red book:


  • 1965 – born in Doncaster (but don’t let that deter you)
  • 1969 – corrected Mrs Holiday’s spelling on my first day at school, whilst the rest of the world watched the Moon landing, whilst I wished for the advent of more pedantry on Facebook.
  • 1983 – left school for University in Sunderland – 3 years of chapped lips and studying Shakespeare, Jane Austen and a few others.
  • 1986 – graduated with a 2.1 Honours degree in English despite spending most weekends watching Terry McDermott and Kevin Keegan strut their stuff at St James’s Park.
  • 1987 – left Leeds, having qualified as a teacher, carefully avoiding picking up local male habits like calling everyone – men included – “love”.
  • 1987 – 2015: teacher, 28 years of it. Teaching English from Year 5 to Year 13. Teaching writing. Leading literacy. Running departments and teams. You get the idea: can quote “Of Mice and Men” verbatim.
  • 2002 – 2015: GCSE and A level marker – that fine eye for detail when I annoyed Mrs Holiday at 4 honed to perfection with exam marking.

You see there’s a theme here, a strand, a rock layer: a passion for writing. 

And now I’m a fully-fledged, lean mean blogging machine with a title, an earth shattering title: Freelance Writer. And to slightly misquote quote Kevin Keegan: “I love it.”

Confucius would pat me on the back.