Thank You for the Writing

This is a time of year when people look at the highs and lows of their year. But I reckon I’ve blown my trumpet loud enough all year. So instead, I’m going to pay tribute to all the people who have helped and supported me in my writing endeavours this year.

To all the people who bought and read The Pink Cage. And then said nice things about it. It means the world. Special thanks to Lorna Sixsmith, who put the book forward for her Bloggers’ Book Club.

To my publisher, Book Republic, for bringing the book to life, especially to Karen Hayes, who dealt patiently with all my queries.

To all the people who came to my launch, two signings and readings. Again, your support gives me wings.Particular thanks to Suzanne Power, for launching my book and to all those people who travelled or who made an extra effort to find a hole in their hectic schedules to come.

To all the people who spread the word about the book on traditional and social media, including Orla Shanaghy, Sian Philips, Nadine O’Regan and Liam Power.

To my creative writing students, who lapped it up and clamoured for more, who were brave, imaginative and full of compassion, especially Pauline Bracken, Gillian Harpur and Mary Cranitch.

To my regular business clients, especially Kanchi, Conrad Howard and David Hegarty, for their ongoing support and for being a pleasure to deal with.

To all the people who have used my services in various forms throughout the year. It was great to make new contacts and I hope I can be of service to you again in the future.

To all the people who referred my services to others, especially Samantha Clooney, John Tierney and Mags Durand. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

To all the people who gave me advice throughout the year, especially Karen Frampton, Fintan Power and David Rogers. I’m going to make sure I put it all to good use.

To the people who trusted me to edit and evaluate their manuscripts, especially Paddy Connolly and Stan Philips. Thanks for taking the leap of faith.

To all my regular correspondents on social media, especially  Jamesie Heaney, Michelle Moloney King, Louise Philips and Derek Flynn. Nice to know I’m not making a leap in the dark.

Merry Christmas to you all from the person known variously as WriteWords, writerlyderv, ThePinkCage, or just plain Derbhile.




Start Your New Year with Creative Writing

The students from my Clonmel creative writing class have browbeaten me into doing another set of classes. They’ll be starting in January, with the hope of filling the people of Clonmel with the urge to pick up a pen.

If you or anyone else would like to come along, here are the details.

When’s it all happening? It starts on Thursday January 12th and will run until March 11th. Classes last for two hours, from 7.30 to 9.30 with a break for tea, munchies and top-quality conversation.

Where will I find it: In St Mary’s Pastoral Centre, Irishtown, Clonmel, in a room with a beautiful big wooden table that has plenty of space for writing and is surrounded by comfortable chairs.

Who should go: Anyone who loves words and has always fancied scribbling. Or people who have started to write and want to develop polished, full-length pieces.

What will happen: Good writing requires both thought and action. So the classes will be a mix of practical exercises designed to strengthen craft and workshops where people will discuss each other’s work and give feedback.

And then there’s that other little niggle.

How much is it? €80 for eight weeks.

How do I book: Call me, Derbhile, on 087 6959799 or email

The maximum number of people for the class is 15 and a few places have already been taken by my eager students, so book now to avoid disappointment.


Can a Creative Writing Class Help You Get Published

I’ve just finished a series of eight creative writing classes for beginners. And naturally, I hope that they will continue to write. Who knows, maybe even one day, be published. After all, isn’t that what a creative writing class supposed to be for?

Well, no it isn’t.

Creative writing classes have been mushrooming all over the country in recent years. And every so often, people speculate as to whether they’re really necessary. After all, a lot of today’s best-selling and award-winning authors never darkened the door of a classroom.

But looking at creative writing classes in terms of whether they produce published writers is too narrow a viewpoint. After all, no one expects children playing underage hurling to turn into DJ Carey, or people taking an evening art class to eventually become Vincent Van Gogh.

Creative writing classes are really about the two Es, escape and expression.

Escape: Creative writing classes give you a chance to step outside the humdrum of everyday life and recapture the magic of being alive. One of the great skills of a writer is to find the extraordinary within the ordinary and creative writing classes show students how to do this. It’s like a holiday from life.

Expression: Students have a chance to share their innermost thoughts in a safe environment and to let their imaginations run free. This can have a powerful effect, as they often don’t have these opportunities for expression elsewhere.

If you help your students achieve those goals as a creative writing tutor, you can safely say you’ve done your job. Anything further than that is a bonus.

A lot of students are avid readers and will be interested in getting a behind-the-scenes look at how their favourite authors create their stories. And particularly in more advanced classes, they’ll be interested in honing their craft as much as they possibly can.

Creative writing classes can help you get published – but only if you want to. A good creative writing tutor will give you the tools and the confidence to develop your stories and point you in the direction of places where you can send your work.

But if you want to be published, you’ve got to carry on by yourself. It’s a bit like Frodo in Lord of the Rings when he realised only he could bring the ring to the Cracks of Doom. You’ve got to put your bum on that seat.

And if being published is what you want, then a creative writing class could just give you the prod you need.