Following a savage (but well-deserved) critique of my early writing, I took stock of my work and decided to improve my writing through education. So I began a creative writing course with the Open University, stayed on to do advanced creative writing and then completed a degree in literature. I've also taken a life writing and creative non-fiction course with the Open College of the Arts and an MA in creative writing with Manchester Metropolitan University. I'm now busy with a PhD in English at the University of Aberdeen. That critique really started something!