Meet a creative

I run a creative networking event on Twitter and each month I will be showcasing the talent of a creative person and giving links to how to see more of their work. If you have a Twitter account join in the networking hour!

Creativebizhour logo Lizzie Chantree


Meet columnist Helen Watson.

Helen is a food and lifestyle columnist for a community newspaper. Here are some insights from the lady herself!

Helen, What inspired you to begin a career in writing?

Helen says:  I have loved writing since I was a teenager and have been scribbling down ideas for years. These days I write a lot of factual articles and love the research process and then forming that into an interesting read. I get a real buzz when I sit in front of a blank sheet of paper at the start of the process and  watch it evolve into something that I am really proud of.

Do you have a favourite place to write? 

Helen says:  I have a great little office with the perfect desk in it and everything laid out just how I want it ….but bizarrely I seem to do my best writing at the dining room table! That said, I have moments of creative inspiration when I am walking the dog. I think it is because of the lack of distraction and all of the fresh air.

Do you write longhand, or directly on the computer?

Helen says:   Always longhand. If I type as I write I lose my train of thought. By writing freehand I can re read and tweak bits and then as I type it up it becomes a much cleaner and more succinct piece of work.

 Do you think the cover of a book or magazine assists sales?

Helen says:   Yes of course it does. I have been swayed to buy a book because the cover appealed to me and sadly the story was not as I expected. However if you are a writer I think it important to have  a certain cover style if you are writing within a particular genre so that your readers can easily identify your books. Also there are so many books published these days that a great cover design may be that one factor that makes a reader choose your book in the first place before they even read your biography or the outline of the story. With a magazine it is different as you may buy the magazine regardless of what is on the cover or be swayed by a great photo or a celebrity that you like.

How do you avoid procrastination as a writer?

Helen says: Well that is a difficult question that most writers will  relate to. I think that you simply have to write something. It is far better to have written something than nothing. Even if it simply the process that gets you to a new starting point. Oh and treating yourself to the occasional glass of something nice is always helpful too!

Find out more about Helen and her writing here:

Meet Landscape photographer Gary Holpin.

Gary is a landscape photographer and author. Meet the man himself!
What inspired you to begin a career in photography?

I walked the South West Coast Path (a National trail that circumnavigates 630 miles of the south west coast) between 2007 and 2009. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, but my main regret was that I was unable to capture the stunning beauty of the coast with my camera – my photos were rubbish! In 2010 I set off back around the coast path for the 2nd time (in the other direction this time!), determined to do justice to the stunning coastal scenery – armed with a new camera, a tech-yourself photography book and a measure of determination, over the next few years I kept taking photographs until eventually I started getting a few that I was happy with and I thought did justice to the beautiful coastline of the south west. I’m still practicing, and hopefully now and then I now take a half decent photo!

Do you have a favourite place to photograph?

That’s such a difficult question as there are so many beautiful spots along the coast of the south west (and further afield come to that!). If I had to choose, it would probably be Salcombe in south Devon – such a fabulous place, for a man with a camera – and anyone else come to that!

Do you think networking is a good way to promote business?

Absolutely – as I work full time (as well as my photography business) I have little time for physical networking – however, many of my best leads have come from contacts via social networking. As well as being great fun, it has the added benefit of a whole network of potential contacts and customers at your fingertips.

Do you think the photography on a cover of a book or magazine assists sales? 

Do you think the photography on a cover of a book or magazine assists sales? Absolutely. In a row full of books or magazines, how else can you attract a potential buyers attention? Something striking that catches the eye and gets the buyer as far as picking it up has got to be a great start. I reckon some of my colourful and striking landscapes would be perfect! 😉
How do you avoid procrastination as a creative? 

I have to say that I’m lucky in that my hobby is my business – when the sun is shining I’m drawn to get to the coast and get walking to soak in some more of our gorgeous coastal scenery – it’s very little extra effort to pick up my camera on the way out of the door and I know that capturing an image or two to remind me of sunshine on rainy days is all I need to motivate me. I guess the answer is to love what you do, then procrastination shouldn’t be a probem!

Find out more about Gary on his website:


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