So you're probably wondering what qualification I have to substantiate my previous words - if the explanation itself isn't enough.
Well, I have an MA in Creative Writing but frankly that qualification is probably worth about as much as the paper on which it's written. For two years I spent an afternoon a week listening to proper writers talking about, well, all sorts of writery things. Occasionally I even did a bit of writing and to prove I'd learned something I had to present a portfolio of my work before I was granted the right to put the letters MA after my name.
I learned about narrative voice. I learned to end a sentence with the bit you want the reader to remember (rather than burying it in the middle somewhere). I learned that I shouldn't build up dramatic tension only to destroy it with a joke - a failing of mine. I also learned that you didn't have to be a wonderful writer in order to teach a class of writers.
I sound ungrateful; I'm not. It was fun. Expensive fun but at least now I have an MA in Creative Writing I don't feel I can justify going on any more writing evening classes. (Future article) At least not without feeling guilty.
So I have a paper qualification but have I been published?
Yes, I have. And I've even been paid for it. (Future article)
I began by writing articles for magazines, largely Christian ones, and newspapers. That led to me - and my daughter - being approached and asked to write one and then two and then three books. we were living the dream.
In my case that dream floated along a little further and a ghost-written autobiography about a New York cop, for heaven's sake, took me to Hodder and the Big Apple.
Alongside all this non-fiction I was writing short stories, I failed to find the secret to breaking into the magazine story market, although I was a runner-up in Writing magazine's (Future article) annual ghost story competition, but found a home in Cambrensis, the magazine for Welsh writers, sadly now defunct, and was fortunate to have stories included in anthologies published by Honno and Parthian. (Future article)
But I still didn't feel like a writer. Let's face it, the only thing that would make me feel like a writer would be a novel of mine reaching the top of the Sunday times best seller list. And for that to happen I'd have to write a novel.