Writer Of The Week: Maggie Ingall

Writer Of The Week

This week, poet Maggie Ingall is our Writer Of The Week.

How long have your poems been published in the “Friend”?

The first time I had any poems published was back in the 1990s.  At that time I belonged to Nottingham Writers’ Club, who ran monthly competitions on various subjects.  One of the first I entered was to ‘Write three items suitable for The Friendship Book’.  The judge was Maurice Fleming, the then editor of the book.  In his feedback, he suggested I might like to send in some material to DC Thomson – which is how I got started.

I’ve been writing poetry for as long as I can remember.  I certainly remember writing little ‘magazines’ while still at junior school, though I suspect it was only me who ever read them!

Do you write in other formats?

Having always loved writing, I don’t just stick to poetry, but have written short stories, short plays and even (as yet unpublished) novels.  It’s my way of relaxing, and there’s nothing like having a whole world (albeit imaginary) under one’s total control!

Who are your own favourite poets, and why?

My taste in poetry is eclectic, but I find that poems that use rhythm and rhyme are the ones that stay with me the longest.  My schooldays are well past, but I can still recite chunks of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky’.  Perhaps the fact that one never quite knows what the words mean allows us to engage with the poem via our own imaginations.

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration for poetry almost everywhere, but particularly so when I’m on a long journey and can just sit back and relax.  I think it gives me the mental freedom to start writing.  For preference, I write directly on a keyboard but without that to hand, I’m certainly willing to settle for notebook and pencil.

Have you always loved poetry?

I’ve always liked poetry, but my enjoyment really takes off when music and lyrics are put together.  I am totally in awe of musician-wordsmiths such as Stephen Sondheim or Jake Thackray.

Do you have a strict writing schedule?

I don’t have a strict writing schedule, but I do seize the opportunity whenever I can.  I belong to a wonderfully supportive Creative Writers’ Group, which always sets a monthly ‘homework’, which helps us all to be a little more disciplined.

How do you handle rejections?

Rejections are always depressing, but I’m sure it’s part of every writer’s life.  If downhearted, just remember just how many times J.K.Rowling had her manuscript returned!

Notebook and pencil, or laptop? Kitchen table, or study? Blank wall, or inspiring view?

Laptop for preference. Study. And a blank wall helps me concentrate best!

And a P.S. – what’s your top tip for an aspiring Writer Of The Week? Or Poet Of The Week!

Simply keep writing – there’s no other way to get better at it.  And, if you possibly can, join a Writers’ Group.  They will share your frustrations, disappointments and triumphs as no-one else can.

For more from our Writer Of The Week series, click the tag below.

You can also click the “poetry” tag to see more about poetry in our magazine, including examples from our archive.


Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 150 years of 'Friend' fiction!