Skip to content
Back arrow icon Back to stories listing

It’s genuinely the best thing I’ve ever done

When Kate Arnold started UoG’s BA Creative Writing course in 2020 as a mature student it allowed her to focus on the thing she loves.

“As a single mother, I had worked for years in pretty boring jobs purely to pay the rent and bills; then, during Covid, there was a restructure going on and we were asked if anyone wanted to take voluntary redundancy. I jumped at it: my son was self-sufficient by then, and I thought it was time I did something for myself.

“I’d been writing since I was a teenager – prose and poetry, which I turned into lyrics for the band I formed in the 1990s – so I enrolled on the BA Creative Writing course in 2020 as a mature student. I had also by this time started working on the music project, Dead Anyway, which is poetry and lyrics I’ve written set to music, so that fitted in well with my new creative life. We are now touring with a live band, and I’d never have been able to fit that in with full-time work. I can’t believe what my life has become, to be honest.

“Writing creatively had always been something I’d had to do around work and family commitments, and to have the space where writing is the thing I’m supposed to be doing – and to be so encouraged by my incredible lecturers, who are also very invested in what I’m doing musically outside of my studies – has made such a difference. I’ve had to take an extra year to finish my degree as I was looking after my mum who had dementia until her death last year, and they have supported me through that too. It’s a bit lonely doing my final year without the support of the group of students I started my degree with, but I’ll get there.

“While doing the module ‘The Writing Business & The Professional Writer’, we were shown a copy of Myslexia, a magazine for women writers and I subscribed to that after the lecture. Every issue has a few pages of submission opportunities, so I entered a short story, ‘The Magnets’, which I’d written for an assignment, into The London Independent Story Prize competition, and I was really thrilled when it was accepted into the anthology of 40 best entrants. I’m submitting for other magazines and competitions too.

“I know I’m lucky: I was able to take my work pension when I left my job, so when my degree is over, I’ll only be looking for part-time work rather than a career. I have a job one day a week writing content and press releases for a care company, so I may be able to take on more hours there, or look for similar work.”