The very first piece of writing I was paid for appeared in Cheshire Life magazine. It was about myths and ghosts and things like that. If memory serves, I got the nod at the end of 2003 and the feature went into the April 2004 issue and I was paid £80. There’s still a copy of the cheque somewhere. I framed it because it felt like such an important thing – someone with a considerable readership was prepared to put their name and reputation to what I’d written – and pay me for it, and whenever someone I know, have taught, have edited or mentored gets their first thing published I always tell them how important it is that they mark the occasion because it’s a huge achievement and it only happens once. It’s one of the times in your life where you feel the proudest. And, for me, it was the beginning of, well, all of this. It meant a lot.
Last week (I think it was last week – the weeks are blurring together) I got a call letting me know that I was in another county magazine. This time it was Yorkshire Life and, aside from a quote, it wasn’t about my words. And I was delighted, and I still am, that they gave page space to cover the huge project I’d been involved with, for Hear My Voice and Barnsley Museums, for over six months – and even more pleased that it was about those who’d taken part in it.
And here it is. I hope it’s the start of very good things for others.