Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Outstanding Achievement

One of my students, Penny Legg, is tackling the course from the beautiful island of Anguilla, and one of her challenges has been finding markets. There's clearly no WHSmiths, Borders, or Tescos store there with a huge array of publications to choose from. Which has meant that Penny has had to be creative in her markets - a step that has led to a recent award for the recognition of her work.

This is a picture of Penny receiving an 'Outstanding Achievement Award' from the President of the Anguillan Chamber of Commerce for all the hard work she has put in producing their regular newsletter.
Now a Chamber of Commerce newsletter is not a 'traditional' market for many writers, but I think it's a clear reminder of a very basic fact - every word you read has to be written by somebody. So if that's the case, why shouldn't it be you?
Effectively, Penny is the writer, photographer and editor of the newsletter, (does she reject herself at times, I wonder?) which are all great opportunities in helping her to hone her skills. And despite being based on a tiny island, she's also achieved many other successes.
One of which is a regular column with the local paper - The Anguillian. Penny's column "Thoughts of an Expat Living on Anguilla" have covered a variety of topics, ranging from Robert Burns, her 25th Wedding Anniversary, through to going on a First Aid course.
She's also written numerous articles for "Island Where" magazine and "Anguillan Life", which has meant interviewing some colourful characters along the way.
I know that Penny wants to explore bigger and better paying markets when she returns to England later this year, but I think her achievements to date demonstrate that success can come in a variety of formats and not necessarily the ones that you expect. As I often say to students, the joy of writing is that you never know where it will take you. Sometimes I think it does us all good to go back to that very first assignment, the one where you have to write about why you want to be a writer, and then look at what you have achieved.
Well done Penny!


  1. Hi Simon

    Thank you for this. You make me sound good!

    You are right, I have had to be creative in my markets as I live on such a small island with very few opportunities. The Chamber of Commerce work has meant I have been out and about talking to people, bringing latest developments in the business community to the chamber members and it has given me the opportunity to use my photography too! What more could I ask for? Since I took over the newsletter it has gone from a flimsy one page flyer format to an eight page magazine which accepts advertising and thus pays for its production. It is a shame that I have to leave Anguilla later this year as I wanted to take it to twelve pages by the end of the year and start to widen its distribution.

    In the meantime, the Anguillian column has meant I can write about anything that takes my fancy, hence the variety of subjects I have covered. This has led to other things on island too. For example, when I wrote a piece about the rehabilitation of prisoners at HM Prison Anguilla, it led to my being asked to be the editor of the Prison Magazine, which I named The Insider. This has been fun to put together and I have met a great many interesting people along the way.

    Writing in a small market can be challenging and not a little frustrating, but it can be done. I am currently very busy writing for local and regional magazines. My goal now is to publish more in the UK, where I think I will be living for a while from the end of the year. With work I will make it. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

    Best wishes

  2. Penny, you sound good because you are good!