Bridget Whelan

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Bridget Whelan

How did you get into writing?

Somewhere between looking at picture books and watching children’s television I fell in love with stories and it seemed natural to want to write my own. However, for a long time I was a writer who didn’t write, at least not on paper. Life got in the way. I was studying or working or bringing up my own children. I wove stories in my head instead but it’s no substitute. You have to get it down on paper, no matter how clumsy it sounds (and it always does at first).

What is your inspiration?

There’s nothing as interesting as people. I start writing when a character gets stuck in my mind even when I’m not sure what is going to happen.

What writing accomplishment are you most proud of?

Not giving up on my first novel. I made a mountain of mistakes but I listened and learned and stuck with it, revising and refining as I went. Writers have to be prepared to get it wrong before they have a chance of getting it right. I sometimes think that the difference between being a writer and wanting to be a writer is that ability to just keep going.

What is your top tip for a young writer?


Practice like a guitarist strums a tune or an artist makes a 30 second sketch of an interesting face in the crowd.

How many ways can you think of describing the colour grey between bus stops? Rain grey, ash grey, the blue grey of cigarette smoke, the slimy grey of a fresh slug trail…

And remember there are only two ways of learning how to write:

1) Write – take risks, try. Try again.

2) Read – anything. The good stuff will show you the way ahead while the bad stuff will tell you what to avoid. The bad stuff may even give you the confidence to persevere because you know, deep inside, that you can do better …

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