NaNoWriMo Prep and The Great First Novel Debate!

Wooly scarfs and hats are making an appearance, frost and orange leaves litter the ground, nights are getting longer…and all around the globe, writers are uncurling their fingers, cracking their necks, and sipping their steaming mugs of tea as they settle down in front of their laptops for the magical month of November. Yes, ladies and gentlefolk, National Novel Writing Month has returned once again!

While I’ve never taken part specifically in NaNoWriMo before, I’ve always felt the excitement in the air as everyone dusts off their thinking caps to take part in the biggest and most communal writing event ever. Mentally, I’ve always taken part. Wishing I had the time to dedicate myself to something that celebrates the thing I love most in the world: Writing. This year, while I’m probably busier than ever, I’m learning to manage my time a bit more and plus, being my first year out of education, I feel like I’m at the perfect point to get the train rolling on my first full-length novel!

Trying to organise my life in Costa today!

However, I’m a bit stuck over which idea I want my first novel to be; so I’ve come to you guys to ask for some help! I have two ideas, the first is a story I’ve been on and off writing for around 6 years and the second for about a year. Both ideas developed during my time at University and both mean an awful lot to me. I’m pretty desperate to write both but I need to fully immerse myself in one story in order to write it properly – especially for something as big as NaNoWriMo. So! Here goes…

Idea One:

Erin, the daughter of a Fey King (Aelfric) and a woman (Nim) from a clan of magic hating vikings. She has the power to control the elements unlike her two older brothers, Alistair and Jude. The family have been in hiding since Nim and Aelfric were married as their relationship cause outrage between the Mythics (magical creatures) and the vikings. Over the years, Nim and Jude have begun to grow resentment over magic and when the family are discovered by a group of Fey fugitives, Alistair is killed and Nim chooses to blame Erin. After running away from home, Erin is soon captured by a group of hunting vikings where she is taken to the city which, unlike her father had told her, is no longer run by the Mythics but by Nim’s sister, Hertha – A woman who wants to destroy all magical creatures.

Idea Two:

Legend says, when the seventh child of a seventh child is born, they will have untold powers. On the 7th July 1842, nestled in the heart of London, where everyone other than the Clarke family has fallen into an entranced sleep, a girl with 6 older sisters is born. Seconds later, she is ripped from her dying mothers arms by a witch who is raising an army and taken away from her family. Moments after that, her identical twin sister, Octavia, is born. 17 years later, London is excited as the first chime of Big Ben will be heard. Not far away, in an underground lair, a group of magical children and their leader are too preparing for the chimes of Big Ben as a portal to another world begins to open.

So guys, what do we think? Idea one, or idea two? Get voting and help me decide where tomorrow begins!

Talk soon!

Natalie x


I Can’t Breathe

Panic attacks.

They take over your mind and your body, wrapping around you tighter and tighter until you feel suffocated and can’t breathe.

It’s a similar feeling to when I was a kid and I was swimming in a river. My foot got tangled in some seaweed and was holding me back. As I tried to kick away, I made the problem worse and soon both my legs were stuck. My chest tightened and lungs began to fill with murky water, burning my throat. I couldn’t work out how to escape and I couldn’t see anyone around to scream for help.

“You need to stop struggling!” I heard a voice say. I spotted one of my grandparents neighbours kids swimming over. “Just breathe!”

“I can’t, I can’t swim.” I sobbed over the bubbling water as I kicked in the seaweed – only making the problem worse.

“I’ve seen you swim, Natalie.” He called out, “and I know you can float. Just focus on staying afloat.”

I closed my eyes just like I did whenever I was in the water and wanted to feel like I mermaid. Giving a slow breath out as I imagined myself becoming weightless.

“Okay, now grab my hand.” I opened my eyes the see the boy treading the water a metre from me while reaching out his hand. I stretched and our fingers brushed against each other. “I can’t reach you.” I gasped, feeling the panic start to build up in my chest again.

“Stop, just keep breathing and try again.” He straightened his arm, really reaching out for me and I copied. Our hands met and he tugged on my arm, tearing the weeds around my legs as he pulled me to the river bank.

I truly was exhausted. Every muscle in my body ached and I was shaking all over, but I was over the worst of it and slowly, I started to feel okay again.

A couple of our grandparents were laughing when we told them, said I did it on purpose to catch the boys attention – which of course wasn’t true. It’s the same sort of reaction people give when you tell them you’re having a panic attack.

It’s been a tough week, and as I sit in my office this morning, there’s been a lot going through my mind. I tried to push on with the mountain of work I had in front of me but the more I pushed back my feelings, the more entangled I got in my fear until my chest once again seized and my brain was stuck in the “I can’t do this” loop

I sipped on my water and tried heading off to the toilets to get some space…but the door was locked. My breathing picked up and I started to shake. “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t” my mind screamed, repeating the words like a broken record.

Then I had an idea, I picked up my phone and started to type. Writing my feelings down in an attempt to focus on what’s happening. While I was still scared, I could feel myself starting to calm down until all that was left was the exhaustion.

Things are tough, but you just gotta keep breathing and eventually you reach the river bank.

P.s. sorry if the format here is a little weird…I wrote it on my phone 😂

Learning To Write Again…

Someone looked at my blog this morning. I don’t know anything about this person other than they were in the United Kingdom when something made them click on the link to my homepage. That’s the joy of the stats page here on WordPress. We can see how many people have viewed which pages of our site, if they’ve come to us by a link, and which country they are in. It’s not much information but it’s enough for us writers to know that someone is thinking of us…even if we don’t know who they are.

I’ve been thinking about what and when to post on this blog a lot. I haven’t written a thing since I started working back in August. Monday to Friday I’m awake at 6.45am to get ready for a job that, while I enjoy, has nothing to do with who I am as a person or what I want to be. I get home around 6.30pm, sometimes I’ll make myself dinner, sometimes I can’t be bothered. Then I’ll just sit on the sofa stalking Netflix for 3/4 hours before having a shower and heading to bed. My weekends are not much different really.

I do think about writing, honestly I do, it crosses my mind almost every minute of every day no matter how tired I am. I just don’t do it. It’s kind of hard to get my head around “adulting”. I’m sure it’s the same for most people in their early 20’s. We had a plan and an envisionment. A dream and goals to live by. But no matter how well we’ve thought things out, something gets in the way. For most of us, that thing is money and bills, but there are many other things that pull us down and it’s very easy for us to let these obstacles take over.

When I noticed that someone had looked at my blog today, I couldn’t help but wonder what they must think of me. It’s been almost 7 weeks since my last post which was a silly little time passer about Taylor Swift. My attempt at being current and “in tune” the media. I had a look through my blog and even though every post is written by myself, it doesn’t have much to do with writing itself…Which is the goal I had for this blog when I started it.

I’ve avoided writing about writing for a while because it makes me feel like a hypocrite when I’m more planning a novel rather than writing one. But then again, wouldn’t writing about writing be writing? I put so much thought into what people will think of me and the words I put to a page that I never end up even putting any words to a page. When people who don’t know me check out my blog, I don’t want them to think I’m another dreamer who gave up at the first hurdle, because if my readers think it, then it’s not far from true, is it?

I have a metaphor that I used to explain to a friend the other week to explain why I haven’t written anything. I compared my brain to that bundle of balloons you sometimes see being sold down a high street or a carnival. Hundreds of beautiful balloons, some bigger or more detailed than others. All attached to tangled strings held by one person who looks like they may be blown away at any moment. Then someone comes along and demands to have the best balloon. you don’t necessarily know which balloon is the best, but you have a vague idea… The balloon you aim for has a string that is very knotted and you have to be careful when getting it because you could lose another balloon while untangling. You decide you need this specific balloon, but it’s going to be difficult to get to and you’re probably going to have to secure some other balloons along the way while also accepting that a couple may get lost. Eventually, you’ll get the balloon you need down and it will head off into the big wide world, but until then you need to prepare for the struggle.

It is the struggle I’m going through at the moment. deciding which balloon I think is the best and then trying to work out what I need to do to get it.

Now I will admit, just like my brain, my metaphors are a bit of a mess that even sometimes I struggle to understand, but basically, I have hundreds of ideas in my head screaming to get out and be handed off to the customer who thinks they are the best. I have plenty of people saying they want specific ideas while I’m trying to decide which I want for myself. As a good blogger, I know I should be telling you guys about this on a regular basis, updating you all on my writing fears and successes.

So, that’s what I’m going to try to do. I’m thinking about the people I have checking my blog to see if my “balloon” is ready to be set free or how the untanglement process is going. I’ve sat down and made a list of all my ideas, working out which balloon has got to go where so to say. I’m going to try and keep you all updated on my thought process and how I’m trying to write. Even if it means I have to focus on a different idea every so often to keep them all from “floating away”. That’s what this blog is for after all. My writing process and the journey to being the best (balloon seller?) writer I can be.


Thanks for checking out my blog guys and keeping up the support!

I love you all!

Natalie x

A Swift Surprise!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, you’ll know that Taylor Swift has been playing with the minds of everyone on social media.

When all of her accounts went blank (space 😉) on Friday, the world went insane. Had the worlds most popular female singer been hacked? Was she reinventing herself? Was she replacing Steve Bannon as Trump’s new chief strategist? (Cause lets face it, the girl certainly can strategise!)

Then on Monday, a dark shadowy video of a snakes tail posted on each of her accounts went viral and Swifties proved just how easy detective work can be when you’re crazy!

Theories flew around the internet about the possible meaning of the video with fans researching snakes, to the current (at the time) eclipse, to old drama and outfits from 2015.

More (unhelpful) clues followed as yesterday a video of a snake’s mid section was uploaded and again 4 hours ago when a video of a snakes head followed suit. Finally, just an hour ago, with everyone screaming in frustration, we were graced with the information on Taylor’s new album, ‘Reputation’ which will be filling shelves on November 10th and the first single which will be released TOMORROW! *hyperventilates*

So, to celebrate the news on this upcoming release, here (in no particular order) are my top ’10’ favourite Taylor Swift songs!

#1 Tim McGraw

#2 Our Song

#3 White Horse

#4 The Best Day

#5 Mean

#6 We Are Never Getting Back Together

#7 22

#8 I Knew You Were Trouble

#9 Shake It Off

#10 Blank Space

#BONUSTRACK I have to mention ‘Thug Story’ too cause that song’s just hilarious 😂


So guys, do we share any favourite songs? Let me know down in the comments!


P.s. Taylor, if you see this, your concert tickets are crazy expensive! Help a girl out? 😜

Spa Weekend!

It twas the night before spa day and all through the house,
Natalie was squealing, she sound like a mouse!
She packed up her clothes all folded with care,
With the hope that no creases would be formed while in there.
She nestled down softly all safe in her bed
While visions of pampering dancing in her head…

Hello, my lovelies!

I hope you're all feeling as relaxed as I am!

As part of a congratulations celebration for completing my degree, my mum decided to treat us to a weekend at The Hilton Hotel and Spa! It's been a wonderful day so I thought I would HAVE to give you a play by of the day so far!

Saturday 5th August 2017

– 5.30am
*looks at clock and is happy to see I have another 2 hours in bed*

– 6am
*wakes up and thinks I must have slept through alarm only to see that just half an hour has passed*

– 6.30am
*and again*

– 6.45am
*and again*

– 7am
*and again…*

– 7.05am
*gives up waiting and gets out of bed*

I'm guessing by now you can see I was VERY excited about this spa weekend! You see, I've never done the whole mother daughter away for a girly weekend thing…heck, I've never even been to a spa!

My coach to Heathrow was at 8.45am so I had plenty of time to wander idly around the house worry about forgetting something I needed and stressing about what the massage therapist would think about my back fat. Soon enough, however, it was time to leave my house and head to the coach station. One of the things about living in the countryside is how eerily quiet everything is in the morning. As my boyfriend, Charlie, drove me to town I leaned out the window and marveled at how beautiful the world is when you wake up before 12pm and don't need to go to work.

Eventually, we arrived at the coach stop where I jumped out the car and waved over enthusiastically to Charlie who looked like he was more excited to go back to sleep and have the bed to himself than anything! 🙄

As I sat twiddling my thumbs, waiting for my coach to arrive with a couple of other eager looking people with suitcases, I tried to ignore the glares from retailers heading to work who clearly wish that they too could be getting a coach somewhere nice on their weekend instead of working. (Ex-Sainsburys staff here. IM SORRY GUYS!!!)

Soon the coach arrived and after awkwardly showing the "wrong" part of my ticket to a stroppy coach driver, I shuffled to the back where the only free seats were next to the toilets and a guy with a MASSIVE flask of coffee. The next hour passed swiftly as I plugged in my headphones in to listen to my weird mixture of musical numbers, 80's rock, and 00's pop with a bit of modern day indie chucked randomly into a playlist; I prayed that the guys' bowels were handling the coffee.

As the coach pulled up to the bus station at Heathrow Airport, I hurried down the aisle away from the coffee guy who was now beginning to look a bit uncomfortable! Onto the pavement, I pushed through the crowd of bubbling holiday-goers until I spotted my mum and skipped over to join her.

"Have to get the bus" she told me after releasing me from her arms. As we waited by the bus stop we joked about how our bus made a stop at the Holiday Inn before taking us to our 'grown up' destination at the Hilton Hotel. "We deserve to be fancy after finishing these degrees!" We thought proudly.

We turned up to the hotel, and OF COURSE it is totally beautiful and we feel like royalty. We head over the the spa desk and are greeted by some lovely women who's eyebrows look like they belong on Instagram. We are given out robes, towels, and slippers and are shown the dressing room. Once changed, we headed upstairs to the consultation room which smelt AMAZING! Filled with incense and different teas next to big squishy armchairs, we settled down with a cup of camomile tea and I looked at the different spa treatments. From facials to scrubs they had it all! I eventually settled on the 30 minute 'Hot Rock Treatment' while my mum went for the 'Raindrop massage'.

Once in the treatment room, I was given a disposable mesh brief as my swimming costume was too restrictive…and let me tell you, that thing was the definition of 'brief'! Awkwardly I tried and failed to cover my butt with the flimsy mesh material before slipping under the towel and buried my head in the face rest while trying to relax.

Luckily, the massage was very dignified and the towel was adjusted with each different body part that was being treated, however, there were a couple of "woah" moments where my eyes were very capable of popping out in shock! 😂

The oil and stones were a wonderful temperature and although there were a couple of moments I felt sure would leave bruises, the overall massage was super relaxing and has really helped my back, legs, and shoulders.

After the massage we headed to the spa where we were able to try out a salt room (helps the immune system, clears headaches and sinuses) and two different sauna's. A herb sauna which, although made my face felt like it was on fire, felt rather nice; and an aromatherapy room which I couldn't even walk into out of choking! The spa also had a decent sized swimming pool with plenty of hot water jets that added to the back pain relief.

There still plenty of time for us here and we have dinner and breakfast planned too (as well as a few cheeky cocktails!) but I won't ramble on any longer. I have some relaxing to do!! Check out and follow my Instagram n.p.brittain for pictures of the weekend!

Thanks for reading!


Natalie x

A Letter To Harry Potter


Dear Harry,

First off, I hope you had a wonderful birthday yesterday. With everything you have been through in your life, you definitely deserve to have a nice day. I hope you, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the gang are all nursing off butterbeer hangovers as we speak.

I wanted to thank you for everything you have done for me over the years. You’ve been there whenever I felt alone or stuck in a rut, you were always someone I could turn to make me feel better.

When I needed a laugh, your sarcastic humor was never lost on me from your “no need to call me sir, professor.” back-chatting at Snape to your sassy little comments with the Dursleys. I will always admire you for having the strength to joke no matter how tough life got for you. You taught me to try and be strong in times of difficulty and even when it seems like there is no hope, to try and live a normal life. In the words of Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.”

I learnt a lot about the different kinds of courage and bravery from you, “”It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” While I don’t see myself as a Gryffindor, I try to take your bravery with me wherever I go and although it’s not always easy, I know you’re there to help me through. (Plus, let’s not forget our lovely friend Luna who proves us Ravenclaw’s can be brave too!)

You have shown me that although we may think we can handle things alone, you need your friends. Whether it’s for sanity, moral support, or for a bit of knowledge that hasn’t crossed our minds, our friends will save us both physically and mentally. It doesn’t matter who a person is, as long as they can be loyal and with a good heart, you taught me how much I need friendship in my life.

I learnt how to grieve with you. I learnt that it’s okay be sad but also that it’s okay to be happy. That we all need to scream and cry and throw a tantrum and then get back up and fight again. You helped me to understand that every now and then, even after time has passed, that you will need to sit down and feel sad again because it’s better than bottling it up – You also taught me the dangers of bottling things up!

While we’re here, I was hoping you can also thank Hermione for me. She taught me as a young girl that it’s good to be smart and a bit nerdy, it’s good to have your head stuck in a book – as long as you remember to make time for your friends too. Also, shoutout to Ron for the way he welcomed you into his home and gave you a family. We all deserve friends who accept us into their lives without judging your past. Who, even though they have very little, are happy to share everything they can to make their friends feel better.

Until the very end, I will be there for you Harry. To defend you and love you in the way you have done for me since that cold Christmas morning I received your first book as a small child. When people listen to me still babbling about you in 50 years time and ask me “after all this time?” I promise you my answer will remain, “always.”


Yours Forever,

A very proud Potterhead.


P.s. I have your stag tattooed on my arm… hope thats cool 😛



The Books That Made Us Readers.

I was one of the lucky kids. My parents would both sit in my room before I went to bed, one on the rocking chair, and one next to me in bed, and they would read to me. They read me wonderful books filled with all sorts of magic and drama that made me the person I am today. I think it is because of them that I have always been a reader. Because of them, I have yearned to know more about different worlds and the stories that come from them. Because of them, I have the imagination of a writer…and I am so SO thankful.

It is because of this that when my friend Chloe mentioned a blog post she had read by Golden Books Girl about the books that made her a reader, I was pretty eager to join in. We quickly decided with some of our other writer buddies that maybe now would be a good time for a collaboration! So here we go! Don’t forget to check out Chloe’s list here, Patsy’s here, and Amber’s here!


#1: The Story Giant, by Brian Patten

When I think back to those days of my parents reading to me, this is a book that stands out so heavily. Even to this day I still refer to it if I’m in need of a bit of inspiration! The book is a series of stories within a story. It revolves around the story giant who is a collector of every story ever told, but he is missing a story, and without that story, he will die. In order to find the missing story, he weaves together the dreams of four children, all from different parts of the world with different social classes. These children tell him their favourite stories in order to try and keep the story giant alive. It is a beautiful book with beautiful illustrations (by Chris Riddell) and it taught me so much not only as a child but also as an adult. It made me, like the story giant, want to know every story in the world – Even if that story is one of my own 😉






#2: I, Coriander, by Sally Gardner



This will forever be one of my favourite stories! I can read it again and again and have done at least once a year since it was gifted to me by a teacher back in primary school. I, Coriander is about a young girl who lives in London during the 1640/50’s. Not only is it a historical fiction novel, however, it is also fantasy. Coriander owns a part of magical silver shoes that have the ability to take her to the world in which her mother was born in. The story deals with horrible topics such as death and abuse without making the book too heavy for children. This book encouraged me to read more historical fiction which quickly became one of my favourite genres.


#3: Alice in Love and War, by Ann Turnbull

Another historical book, but this time without fantasy. Alice’s journey is a difficult one. Orphaned at 16 during the English Civil War (I like this time period in stories!) She lives on her Uncle’s farm until a group of Royalist soldiers take base there where a young soldier, Robin, takes a ‘shine’ to Alice. She runs away from the abuse of the farm to be with Robin and the women of the army baggage train. The story deals with the horrors of war from a woman’s perspective, not shying away from the details of murder, rape, pregnancy, and miscarriage, whilst also looking at the effects a small gesture of kindness can give to you. The story introduced me to the romance genre, as well as probably being the first story I had read with sex in it (which was a bit of a shock for a 12-year-old!). It also taught me that love and life doesn’t always go to plan, but you should never give up.


#4: The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis

Ah Narnia. If you went to school in England, I can almost guarantee that you have some kind of love for Narnia – even if you’re not a reader. Both the books and films had such beautiful imagery of a magically snowy kingdom with wonderful characters that it was hard not to be swept in. It’s hard to explain what the books did to me as I was so young when I first read them, but they not only inspired my love of reading, they also inspired my love of writing. I loved how the author didn’t always use the same characters in the different books, I loved knowing how the world was created and how it went one once certain characters were no longer there. If a new book came out today, I know for sure I would want to know more stories of Narnia.


#5: The Sight, by David Clement-Davies 

This book inspired me in different ways to the others on my list. When I first got my hands on The Sight, I picked it off the shelf because I loved the cover. A beautiful wolf on the front staring into my soul with its bright yellow eyes. The blurb was different to other books I had read before, there was something darker, something more mysterious. I NEEDED this book without really knowing why. So imagine my disappointment when I got home, curled up on my beanbag, opened the first page…and struggled to understand what was going on in the story. This was the first time I hadn’t really gotten into a book straight away and I remember telling one of my teachers about it, confused as to why I wasn’t understanding. She looked through the book and said that although I might be good at reading books above my level, she didn’t think I had reached the point of understanding this book yet. So the book gathered dust on my shelf while I read more and more, desperate to know more words, understand more about the world. Until, one year, I picked up the book again and those eyes stared into my own. I sat down and read like I had never read before about a pack of wolves tormented by an ancient curse. Not only do I now LOVE this story, but I love how it inspired me as a child to learn. I needed to read more so that I would be able to understand the complexity of plot twists and curses, to be able to read a book from an animals point of view instead of a humans, to fully immerse myself into a characters world for a few hours to the point that when I reached the end, I had to sit and think for a while before I could do anything else.


#6 Judy Blume

I couldn’t single out just one book written by Judy Blume for this post, yet I didn’t feel like I could leave her out either. I first heard of Judy Blume books when watching “Holiday In The Sun” (a Mary-Kate and Ashley film) in which the books were said to be the favourites of a character. After watching the film, I headed to the library and noticed so many books by this author, I was surprised I hadn’t heard of her before. I stocked my backpack full of her books: Tiger Eyes which dealt with death and how to recover; Forever was a love story for young adults unlike any other, it was rare at the time to come across a YA story about sex that didn’t involve the girl being punished and the boy being a jerk; Deenie dealt with medical conditions in young teens, how to deal with social pressures, and the effects parents can have on their kids when they ‘pigeon hole’ them; Are You There God? It’s Me: Margaret looked into puberty for young girls; Blubber dealt with the all important issue of bullying…

I could talk about every single one of Judy Blume’s books easily but these are just a handful. I couldn’t get enough of her stories and I’m so grateful I found them at the same sort of young teen age that I was able to go through the same issues as the characters. Judy Blume encouraged me to read more teen books in order to have an escape from the pains of teen life.


#7: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, by Louise Rennison

I couldn’t go through a teen book obsession without picking up Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging. When the movie came out, everyone fell in love with Georgia Nicolson and her Ace Gang of hilarious friends. Georgia was SO relatable and her books so incredibly fun to read. I ended up writing a notebook full of Georgia’s favourite words and catch-phrases and handing them out to friends at school (NERD ALERT!) I wanted to know everything about Georgia’s life and how to be a perfectly-unperfect as her and because of that, her books went with me everywhere.


#8: Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling

How could I write this post without including Harry Potter? It would be impossible! NEVER have I been more immersed in book world than I have with J.K.Rowling’s fabulous series. I don’t need to tell you guys what these books are about because you would have had to have spent the past 20 years under a rock to not know this story. I was given the first book as an incredibly young child, maybe 4 or 5 years old and I have grown up with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the gang. I have a tattoo of a stag on my arm with the Deathly Hallow symbol, spells and all sorts on my arm and I can’t express how much I am in love with this world. I could talk forever about what Harry Potter did to me but if you’re a Potterhead like me you’ll know it’s Harry’s birthday very soon and I can guarantee you that I’ll have a whole post on him coming up soon!



If you’ve stuck around to read all my waffle on the books that made me a reader, I’m impressed. Thank you so much! I know it was a bit of a long one but once you’ve asked me to talk about books I could honestly go on for days!

I’ll try and write before Harry’s birthday but if not, you’ve just 6 days to wait for my next magical, Pottertastic post!

Let me know what the books that made you a reader are. Do we have any books in common?


Talk soon!

Natalie x

The Pros and Cons of a Creative Writing Degree

“Creative Writing? You mean English…Right?”

“Creative Writing? Is that a module you’re doing for your Literature degree?”

“Creative Writing? So…Do you want to be a librarian?”

“Creative Writing? What a waste of three years!”


If you have ever entered, or even considered entering into a Creative Writing degree, I can guarantee you have heard one of the above lines. I would even go as far to say that it should be listed on the ‘Things Included On This Course:” page of the university prospectus.

Okay, sure the course has its cons, it’s weird moments, and it’s occasional “do we really need to know this?” moments…But doesn’t every course?

Let us start with the good things though! Here is my list of ‘pros’ for doing a Creative Writing degree…


Pro #1: Friendship/Networking!

One of the best things I found about this course is how willing everyone is to help each other. You learn very quickly within this degree that you can’t get anywhere without contacts, and the course will quickly help you build those friendships with people who understand you. Take one look at Twitter for example and dive into “Writers Twitter”. As you will have seen from my last post, Tweeting For Twits,  “Writers Twitter” is a MASSIVE community and there is one simple reason for that. Writers need each other. Without a community of friends, writers could very easily become hermits, shutting themselves away from the world to write in a dark corner alone, only to come out from said corner with a sad, crumpled manuscript that hasn’t been gazed upon by anyone’s eyes other than their own. Which leads me to my next point…

Pro #2: Workshopping!

That manuscript of yours isn’t going ANYWHERE without some workshopping! A big thing my Creative Writing degree taught me is, no matter how proud you are of your work, something is wrong with it, and something can ALWAYS be improved. You have to remember when writing that if you want to be published, you’re not just writing for yourself, you’re writing for an audience. While something might make perfect sense in your head, there’s a very high chance that an outsider isn’t always going to know what’s going on. Workshopping makes sure that what you see in your own head is being seen by your readers too which is SO IMPORTANT when you’re trying to get across all the weird and wonderful things that are brewing out of your brain and onto a page.

Pro #3: Learning New Things!

As with most degrees, there are many different modules to choose from during your time at university, however, this is especially important in a Creative Writing degree. You may have spent your entire writing life thinking you’re the next Stephen King…Only to find out that people don’t find your version of horror that scary. That’s a bummer right?! Without a Creative Writing degree, you might just end up giving up after your (what feels like) billionth rejection letter…HOWEVER, with a Creative Writing degree, a tutor or classmate might point out that they really like the magical aspect of your writing which could lead to you choosing a fantasy module. Or maybe someone thinks your writing is pretty funny, taking you to comedy. Maybe, you’ll go in completely a different direction and try your hand at non-fiction and learn that memoirs are your calling, or perhaps you discover a natural talent in songwriting or scriptwriting! Your degree is three years giving you plenty of time to explore the different types of writing and learn where your talents lie.


Now, while all of this is pretty great, I won’t lie, the course can make you feel a bit lost at times… Here is my list of ‘cons’…


Cons #1: It doesn’t make you a writer.

If you don’t have a natural talent for writing, you’re not really going to get it on this course. A Creative Writing degree will help you to learn how to improve but it won’t turn you into J.K. Rowling if the closest you’ve ever got to writing is “The cat went outside and fell asleep, I watched it but nothing really happened. I made some tea but it was too hot to drink. I’m bored.” You need to go onto this course with an excitement for adventure and a brain full of ideas. Sure you’re given plenty of writing prompts in lessons, but if you don’t know what to do with those prompts, then it’s going to be a very dull three years.

Cons #2: It doesn’t mean you’ll be published.

I remember one of my first lessons in this course. Maybe 50 of us sat in a room, ready with our notepads and pens, bright eyes and bushy tailed eagerly awaiting the tutors’ words of wisdom.

“So, who wants to be a published author?”

(Let’s guess here that maybe 48/50 hands shot up into the air…)

“Damn, that’s a lot of shattered dreams!”

Now, that might seem harsh but, unfortunately, that’s the reality of the industry we, as Creative Writing students, are heading in to. Our tutors’ hit us with the harsh reality that only a handful of us would probably make it as published authors. Yes, maybe we have a higher chance than the average Tom, Dick, or Harry, but when you think realistically of the millions of people sending in their precious baby manuscripts to agents and publishers…Your chances are pretty slim.

Con #3: You can’t always write what you want.

If you’re thinking of doing a Creative Writing degree, I’m almost betting you have a brilliant idea for a novel that you can’t wait for everyone to gasp in wonderment at. FORGET IT. “Why?” you ask? Well, that brilliant idea you have might not work for your first assignment about “The Life of A Rock.” Nor may it work for your second assignment which requires you to use a piece of art work as inspiration for a poem. Not to forget, just when you think a module is giving you an assignment you can use your idea for, the tutor may ask you to only work on things inspired by the module texts or on things you started during a writing prompt in class. Plus you have to take into consideration who your tutor is; if you’ve written a beautifully romantic tale of star-crossed lovers and your tutor hates love stories (or even worse, has just gone through a bitter divorce!) then that assignment might as well not be handed in!

Let’s say you’ve made it to third year and you’re about to start your dissertation/ECP/final project. You open the drawer you filled back in first year with all your notes and plot lines for the idea that started it all. You brush off the dust and giggle with excitement, you’re FINALLY going to write the novel of your dreams! and…it’s shit. After all your learning and studying you realise that the whole story doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t follow the right rules or break the wrong rules, it’s not original, and it’s not quite going anywhere. Once you’ve cut, rearranged, added, and polished that novel, it’s not the same novel anymore…But, trust me, it will be SO MUCH BETTER

And that, I suppose, could be a pro.


Hope you enjoyed this post, it’s certainly something that’s been playing on my mind for a while!

Do you have anything you want to add to the list? Or maybe you have some other questions? Just send me a message and I’ll get back to you ASAP with an answer!



Natalie x

Tweeting For Twits

Posting for the second day in a row?! Am I okay?! #Sendhelpithinkimawriter!


Did you miss me? If you follow my Twitter account @NP_Brittain I’ll be very surprised if you’ve had the time to miss me! As you may have noticed, the past 24 hours has become a slight writing spam from Facebook and Instagram, to this very blog.

You see, last night, I was sitting in my newly-moved-into home, listening as the rain tap danced away on my conservatory roof. The sound was so soothing it reminded me of the yoga soundtracks I would play when trying to finish a uni assignment at 4am while huddled in a corner of the library. It reminded me of my poor abandoned blog that I was encouraged to start a mere 4 months ago. A blog that was supposed to help me build a fan base who would be eagerly awaiting my first novel. A novel whose notes have been sobbing in the bottom of a moving box, wondering if they would ever see the sunlight again.

As the army of tap-dancing rain drops pitter-pattered on my roof, I began to open some boxes. Coughing as the plumes of dust raced out of its dark enclosure, I slowly weaved through hundreds of crumpled notebooks and loose pieces of paper. Three years worth of ideas for stories and poems flooded back into my brain, pushing away the many negative feelings of doubt and despair that have plagued me recently.

Don’t forget us! Expand me! Fix my plot hole! Write me, write me, write me!


While unmuddling all of my muddled thoughts from the past three years, I remembered my Twitter account, which along with the blog, had also be left with a strong feeling of abandonment. I began to browse through the one aspect of media I have little experience with and noticed that many of my writer buddies had picked up a fair amount of followers in the time I had been away. Although incredibly proud of their hard work, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit left behind, like the Grandma of my writing group struggling to cope with the speed of technology.

“You need to learn about writers hashtags.” Pointed out the ‘Mommy’ of my writers’ group chat, (on Facebook, of course!) Writers hashtags? “There’s a #writerstellme one that gets used for all sorts.”

With my unmuddling-muddled mind, I head to my favourite place on the internet, GOOGLE, and I gets-a Googling!

  • #AmWriting
  • #AmEditing
  • #WordCount
  • #WriterWednesday (or #WW)
  • #WritersLife
  • #YALitChat
  • #LitChat (every M/W/F)
  • #MemoirChat (every other Wednesday at 8 pm ET)
  • #BookMarket (Thursday’s at 4 pm ET)
  • #ScriptChat (Screenwriters)
  • #PoetTues
  • #ZineChat
  • #WritingParty
  • #IndieAuthors
  • #WriteChat
  • #NaNoWriMo
  • #WANA (We Are Not Alone community)
  • #PBLitChat (Picture books only)
  • #RomanceWriter
  • #SciFiChat
  • #KidLitChat
  • #RWA (Romance Writers of America)
  • #ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)
  • #MGLit (Middle Grade Lit)
  • #SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators)
  •  #MemoirChat
  • #FlashFic
  • #Romance
  • #Horror
  • #FanFic
  • #YA
  • #History
  • #Biopic
  • #WritingTip
  • #WriteTip
  • #GetPublished
  • #BookMarket
  • #BookMarketing
  • #PromoTip
  • #SelfPublishing
  • #SelfPub
  • #Publishing
  • #AskAgent
  • #AskAuthor
  • #AskEditor
  • #EBooks
  • #IndiePub (or #IndiePublishing)
  • #BookMarketing
  • #PubTip
  • #WritingPrompt
  • #StoryStarter
  • #WordAThon
  • #Creativity
  • #WIP (work in progress)
  • #1K1H (write one thousand words in one hour)
  • #FridayReads
  • #BookGiveaway
  • #MustRead
  • #LitChat
  • #StoryFriday
  • #MustRead
  • #TeaserTues
  • #BookGiveaway
  • #FreeBook
  • #FreeDownload
  • #Kindle
  • #Nook

This isn’t even half of the hashtags out there and it just goes to show what a ginormous community of writers there are in the world of Twitter. I may be a bit of a twit when it comes to Twitter but I’m sure I’ll be a regular #tweeter in no time! Let me know if you have any favourite #hashtags!


Talk soon!

Natalie x



Welcome To The Real World

University is officially over! So pleased to announce that despite all the tears and tantrums, I will be graduating with a 2:1 (Second Upper Class) Creative Writing Degree in October.

The past four months since my first post have been a whirlwind of emotions from saying goodbye to many incredible people, moving to a completely new area, job hunting, and life planning. They say University is like riding a bike through a burning corridor…Well upon leaving University, that corridor has been burnt away and you’re left stumbling lifelessly through the rubble, choking on the ashy embers that have taken away everything you know and love.

I had a council tax bill come through the door the other day which was a massive shock to the system after being exempt from paying as a student. How am I supposed to afford this?! I panicked, crunching the numbers while my last paycheck from my part-time job hung miserably in front of me, looking slightly crumpled and rather useless. I know how you feel, buddy! 

Luckily, I have an interview for a nicely paid office job lined up and with any luck, I will get it. However, (this is where the pain of a writer comes in) the job is full time leaving me less of an opportunity to write. I know I will get there though, especially with the support system I have around me.

Each one of my family and friends shine around me like flashlights at that end of that ashy corridor, letting me know that I am not alone and that I’m not far from reaching the safety of my dreams.

I’m kicking the novel back up the butt this evening and I’ve started doing some research into the seventh child of a seventh child and I’ve sent out a couple of emails to some experts in witchcraft. “What is the novel about?!” I hear you cry! Never fear, my darlings! You shall find out in due course.

I promise.


With love,

Natalie x