Write On …

I’ve been in a bit of a tussle recently, and not only with Phyllis, the Ever-Expanding-Hernia.

My blog was born in October 2012, a dreadful time for me.

Not only was I coming to terms with a diagnosis of MS, my first Alemtuzumab treatment and a Teenager in High School, I was also being horrifically bullied in work.

I desperately needed an outlet and I had always, always wanted to write.

I reached out to the fantastic author M J Hyland (who had written a beautiful piece describing the darkness around learning to live with MS in an Observer ‘Review’ piece), and who, through many emails, urged me to find a way to get everything down, document it all.

I took her advice and my blog went live; I typed away every single day, posting blog after blog after blog.

My writing was simple, direct and to the point. I wrote about me, The Teenager and The Boss, who employed me as soon as I was sacked for having MS.

I blogged what I saw, what I experienced and what I was going through, warts and all. My aim was to show MS as it really was for me. As the only adult in a house, life with MS was frightening, terrible and daunting in equal measure.

Six years on, I’m still blogging, but in that time, and thanks to a huge amount of encouragement from you guys, I completed my Masters in Creative Writing. And The Teenager is in University.

For my Master’s dissertation, I wrote an angry piece about the realities of care work (having worked in that dismal sector) a brutal and unflinching novella laying bare the real-life experiences of ‘social care’.

Reader, I won that year’s Humanities Prize for Academic Excellence.

I took a break for a year or so. I uhhhhmed and ahhhed about taking it further. I liked my job – I enjoy it, and need the flexibility of working with my best friend, but something was nagging away.

Could I go further? The next step was a PhD. Lol.

Hmm. Lol.

Nope. I’m not a natural academic.

I don’t write academically. So, in short, no.

I had an interview recently, to teach a ten week course in Digital Media, and the first thing I told the interviewers was that I wasn’t academic. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. But my passion was there.

I had the most incredible feedback two days later. Sure, I was let down on the technical side of the course, but one of the points was my claim that I wasn’t academic.

So, what is academia? Is it ivory towers? Yep, that’s what I thought. Convoluted arguments? Yep. Long stripy scarves and a pile of books? Yep.

Well, no. Not always.

I’m going for it, despite my ingrained fears that I’m just not clever enough. I don’t have the right vocabulary, I can’t write paragraph-long sentences and I have no idea how to conduct myself in a tutorial.

I’ll still have to work, still run the house, be available for all The Teenager’s Uni dramas. And still cope with everything MS flings at me.

It might take a while. Perhaps a lot longer than my goal.

And for me, the great thing is, I’ll need your support throughout it – and not only that, I want you to contribute to my studies.

My dissertation will put you at the centre. The more I think about it, the more excited I get – it will be a collaborative effort.

How does that sound? Let me know …

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10 thoughts on “Write On …

  1. Sarah Loasby says:

    Go for it! I work at an HEI and lots of the work we do is not ‘academic’ in the true sense. You have obviously demonstrated you can write to an academic standard by getting your Masters – no easy feet! You must have demonstrated that you met learning outcomes and that you can carry out critical analysis. Feedback from your followers will provide you with loads of qualitative data. How lucky are you to have that? I have never managed to complete a degree but I hope you take this as far as you can. If you carry on doing everything you do now in addition to completing a PhD you are such a shining example of what can be achieved whilst dealing with MS.
    Best wishes

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you so much! I had a lot of help from the student disabled service at my uni, and of course, a fabulous tutor!
      Really excited about this new project and to have so many people onboard is just amazing 🙂 X

  2. Karen Schlotter says:

    I’m in!!! Well, it’s you who’s doing all the work but I am so excited for you, and proud, if I can claim to be. Go for it, and try and enjoy every moment. xo

  3. Christine Mountford says:

    Well done for taking positive steps forward. You are such an inspiration to others, including those of us hosting MS. Count me in, happy to help and like you, willing to give it a go!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you! It’s definitely you guys who inspire me 🙂 We’ve been through so much together these last six years! x

  4. Wendy says:

    More power to you!

  5. Annie says:

    Fantastic, good for you . And yes you are an inspiration….. you got this 😊x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I really hope so!
      I met up with my lovely friend Gemma today, who is already pursuing her PhD. We met on the Master’s and she’s given me some great ideas about how to get up and running. It’ll be a massive challenge, but bring it on!! x

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