Wednesday 1 January 2020


HAPPY NEW YEAR! And welcome to my new #Writingishard series. This series is for all writers whether you are new writers just starting, you are a little way along the journey, a debut author, one battling with your second novel, or several books under your belt. Whoever you are, if you love writing you will also understand that writing is hard. It can be such a long journey. It took me well over ten years from beginning to take my writing seriously to having my first novel published. The idea behind #writingishard is to provide support, a shoulder to lean on, a place to celebrate occasionally the joy of writing, but to acknowledge how difficult it is. It is somewhere to find useful sources and where I can provide helpful strategies that might help you through those difficult times. A place you can come back to at any time for support. Knowing we've got your back.

The intention is to post every other Thursday starting on the 16th of January and using the hashtag  #writingishard, so do keep an eye out for it. When I post feel free to add to the posts if you have questions or additional useful information that you feel might help people or you need help. Don't be afraid to ask. The idea is for this to be a safe and supportive place. Not a critical one. There is no right or wrong way to write. You have to find what works for you. I will be sharing some of the ways I have found that works for me and the strategies I use. That doesn't necessarily mean they will work for you, but I am a great believer that you never stop learning when you are a writer. I always like to listen to how others do things, as I often find I come away with a useful nugget that I can apply to my writing and improve how I do things.

Probably most of you who are reading this already know who I am but just in case, here's a bit of an introduction as to who Ness Harbour, or Vanessa Harbour depending what you want to call me, actually is:

I am a writer: 10 years ago I wrote young adult fiction, in 2018 Firefly published my debut middle grade novel Flight. When I started at university I thought I wrote for adults. I also dabble in poetry - but nobody ever sees that! I have had a short story published in Citizens of Nowhere.

In 2011 I got a PhD - this was a creative and critical one which included writing a YA novel.

I have lectured in creative writing for thirteen years at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I also supervise PhDs. I have also lectured in English and children's literature.

I have had the privilege of being involved with the Golden Egg Academy since it started and my wonderful friend Imogen Cooper came to me and said 'I've had an idea, do you want to be involved,'. I am very lucky.

I happen to be disabled - my grandsons call me bionic.

I am a mother (a single parent) and a grandmother. I've been a carer.

I love finding beautiful things in the world and having a good laugh. I also think our lives should have its own musical soundtrack!

I wrote three novels before Flight was picked up.

I am currently working on my second novel with Firefly and also on a sequel to Flight. I love visiting schools and hearing from my young readers, teachers and librarians.

I hope you will join me on this journey and I hope #writingishard can make it a little easier for you.

Let's fill the new decade with lots of positivity


For memories and for happiness, I love this song by McFly


  1. This sounds wonderful, Nessa! I look forward to your bi-weekly missives! Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you lovely and I hope you have a wonderful 2020 x

  2. Looks like this will be a great resource - very generous of you xx

  3. I am looking forward to reading more blogs from you,Vanessa. Writing is hard but I think staying motivated and keeping up hope of finding that elusive agent/publisher is harder. Love knowing you are a grandma (like I am). Thank you for this blog xx

  4. Thank you, it is difficult but you need to remember it only takes one to say yes. Being a grandma is the best role ever. Good luck and keep writing, you can do this x

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