I’ve been on this internet voyage for a few years now.

No! It wasn’t around the same time as the rest of you.

Some bright spark told me (just when P.C’s became considered as something handy to have) to hold off buying one because they change so frequently, the one I bring home will be out of date before I take it out of the box.

So, adhering to that particular techno expert’s advice, I didn’t buy one.

I went to my friend’s house one day. “Do you know anything about that internet thing?” I said.

She tilted her head towards a big square box in the corner (I think it had a doily on the top).

“We’ve got a personal computer,” she said with an announcement-tone to her voice.  “I’ll show you.”

There we were, four of us, clustered around her new purchase whilst she explained the process of internet searches. We were all ooh-ing and ahh-ing and I remember thinking I’ll never get the hang of that (I still haven’t)


As I was saying…I’ve been on this internet voyage for a few years now…

And as I explored writing forum territories, I often heard the strangest remarks.

“Don’t worry about reviewing the grammar. My editor will do that.”

What editor? I pondered (I may have said that out-loud).

“The one I’ll have when I get the offer to publish my book.”

“But you’re not going to get an offer until you edit it.”

“Grrrhh! JUST LEAVE IT ALOOOONE.” The words screamed back at me.


Someone else…”My agent says I needn’t worry about that.”

“What agent?

“It’s a friend of mine. She’s going to represent me when I finish writing my book.”



Last year I was invited to the Frome festival as a ‘writer-in-residence’. The idea was for the participant to sit in a shop or a café window and write a story based on a topic given to them on the day.

There I was, in a lovely café on a cobbled street, with my laptop in front of me, typing away in earnest, whilst tourists came past and scrutinised me. They even took pictures!

On the window was a poster with ‘Wendy Reakes, writer-in residence’ plastered all over it.

My cheeks burned pink as I felt them all watching me through the glass. Not just because I looked like a shop dummy, but because their impressed little faces assumed I was a proper writer. One even came in to shake my hand.

I have often raised this issue slash question…

At what point can we call ourselves writers without kidding ourselves and the rest of the world?

In the past the response has mostly been…”I am a writer. My agent says so.”

That must be right then. If your agent says so!

Whispering to myself… “What agent?”

“Grrrhh! JUST LEAVE IT ALOOOONE,” they’d scream once more.



Answers on a post card.


You need a proper foundation for any endeavor, bet it a house or a book. Without the bricks and mortar, ie grammar, spelling and punctuation. You might build something the is good at first glance, but at closer scrutiny it falls apart. Everyone needs to learn the basics and then move on from there.This requires putting in the time. In "Outliers" Malcolm Gladwell points out that it takes about 10,000 hours before there is mastery of any type of art.


You should also proof read comments before you post them!


Thanks, Bud. Good points.


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