There is hope.
Say no more to fear of failure, to becoming the family hermit, those long nights spent drafting and re-drafting will soon be rewarded. Writer and journalist, John Woodhouse, is our beacon of hope. A true example of how far dedication to the written word can mean to a writer, so don’t wave your white flag just yet.
From reporting what’s in the locals shopping trolleys, to ghost writing an autobiography of Graeme Fowler, John happily explains how he scored the opportunity to write about his favourite cricketer.
‘So, that was a bit weird really. As a kid, I obviously wanted to be a journalist from a young age. I entered a competition in a magazine called the cricketer, I had to write a hundred words about my favourite cricketer, and then if your piece was picked you then won the price of interviewing that cricketer.’
A smile crept on John’s face as he continued. ‘I was dead pleased I won that, I got my piece in a magazine. I didn’t think really think anything of it, especially with a guy like Graeme Fowler. And then on twitter I started following him again, probably about four years ago. I could see he was tweeting about mental health all the time, he had the most awful depression, he couldn’t get off the settee or make himself a cup of tea. And I had a few mental health issues myself so I started looking at him in a totally different way.’
‘Thirty years on from that original article, I went back to the cricketer and I said how about I do a piece from how I looked up to him as a cricketer as a kid to how I look up to him as a mental health ambassador. To get rid of this stigma about mental health, and they were well up for that. So, I did a two-page spread under the banner of my favourite cricketer, and Graeme Fowler saw that. At the back of that he just tweeted me and said I’ve got a book deal do you fancy writing it for me?’
The autobiography, Absolutely Foxed, was not only successful with the Guardian stating it is ‘profoundly important’ due to its advocacy for mental health, but John is now on his third book with another England cricketer, and plans on working with gold medallist, Jonnie Peacock. Though he says, ‘it would be nice not to be the ghost. As a writer, I do have ambitions to write books of my own.’ It is clear that John is passionate about ghost writing as he reminisces about his time spent with Graeme Fowler.
‘Obviously you have to spend a lot of time with someone as a ghost writer, it’s like an interview times a thousand. He would come down to my house and he turned up with a tent. I almost felt like a fourteen-year-old again. I was looking out of my bedroom window at night, thinking I’ve got an England cricketer in my garden.’
So, there you have it, the reason why we should rejoice in our journey to being published authors, it is simply an accomplishment. A step up rather a step down.