BLOG: Penguin PR shares why it loves writing as the UK celebrates National Writing Day


To mark National Writing Day – an initiative from the National Literacy Trust to celebrate the power of writing creatively – the Penguin PR team share why they love writing.

I can remember the exact moment I fell in love with writing, writes Sarah Newton.

It was in the fourth-year juniors (ask your mum) and we were studying the plague and the sacrifice of the people living in Eyam. It was the first time we had been taught a topic that felt real to me – although not as real as it did many years later during the pandemic. We were tasked with writing a diary as if we were an Eyam villager and I can still remember discovering that writing was more than just putting words on paper. It was a journey, a form of expression and a way to connect with others. 

From that moment on writing was no longer a chore, with the exception of the thank you letters I was forced to write every birthday and Christmas. At secondary school I won a writing competition, beating the rest of the school; possibly the last competition I won. And at university it was a lifeline – the queue for the payphone was permanently enormous and so letter writing was the only way to stay in touch with family and friends. Today I consider myself lucky to have made a career from doing something I love – writing for newspapers, magazines and now on behalf of the schools, charities and businesses I work with.

There’s an indescribable joy in finding the perfect word, crafting a compelling sentence, or seeing a story come to life.

Writing is not just something I do; it’s a fundamental part of who I am. It brings me happiness, fulfilment, and a sense of purpose. In an age where visibility and validation seem crucial, I don’t even mind if no one reads what I write – the joy of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is reward enough.

Kevin Keegan – seen here on the right when he was England manager – poses with a Newcastle United supporter.

Perhaps the best comment I’ve ever received for a piece of written work was from my former English teacher Mrs Green, writes Kerry Ganly.

We had been asked to write an emotive newspaper report – I guess this is where I started to believe I had a future in journalism – and I chose to write about Kevin Keegan’s appointment as manager of Newcastle United in 1992.

Keegan’s appointment came at a time when Newcastle United were in turmoil; boardroom battles, a training ground that was badly lacking in TLC and a team languishing in the league. His return to St James’ Park was hailed as a ‘homecoming’ and I did my best to reflect this in my English homework.

Mrs Green gave me an A* for my efforts and wrote: “I really hope that, one day, you’ll be paid for your writing.”

Well, she wasn’t wrong.

Several years later, I was employed as the Derby Telegraph’s first-ever female sports reporter and the rest, I guess, is history.

I kept a diary as a child (a brightly-coloured, hardback version with a tiny padlock and key that I kept under my bed) and found that writing entries in this – not necessarily every day – was a good way to unwind in the evening.

I would write to the Take That fanclub hoping that my idols would reply. I would enter all the competitions on Saturday morning TV programme’s such as Going Live and Live & Kicking, writing postcard after postcard and praying that my entry (often written in bubble writing with doodles coloured in using an illuminous highlighter pen) would be chosen.

I also had penpals; one who lived in Japan and another – Naomi Scobie – who lived, and still does, in Australia.

The joy of receiving a letter from the other side of the world, folded into several bits so that it would fit neatly in the pale blue envelope, is still something that I think about. I have all the letters from my penpals in the loft (along with the occasional love letter I received at secondary school), and glancing through these brings back happy memories.

For me, writing is a way of expressing myself. It can be quite therapeutic, too, and I’m very lucky that I get paid to write – just as Mrs Green would have wanted.  

Writing is something that brings the Penguin PR team together.

I may be in my 40s (quite far into them, in fact) but writing gives me the same buzz today as it did when I was a child in the 80s, writes Lucy Stephens.

Being introverted may be kind of fashionable these days but back in 1981 it was fairly uncool to be as shy as I was. More uncool still was my favourite pastime of writing stories about characters from my head and pasting them to the wall with Sellotape – with some nice bright pictures done in my best felt-tips to illustrate (and a fat tear in the paint when they were eventually ripped off the wall, too).

It’s funny to think of what your childish self would think of the adult they became, but I think five-year-old Lucy would have been pretty happy to know that one day she would be telling stories for a living.

For me, the joy of writing is the same as it has been all my life: telling stories with the aim of keeping a reader interested right until the last sentence.

Back in the 80s, it was only really me reading my scrawls torn from notebooks and taped to the wall.

But in today’s connected world, it’s incredibly satisfying to sometimes get feedback from the stories we write – a donation to a charitable cause we’ve highlighted, perhaps, or even an opinion on a story that could divide people’s views.

And I think that probably encapsulates why I love writing so much. Because writing is nothing without reading. When you know that what you’ve written has struck a chord with a reader … well, for a writer, there’s no other feeling like it.

It’s how we really know we’ve done our job.

A September baby, I started school in the wrong year, meaning when I moved school aged eight, I had to repeat a year, writes Kirsty Green.

Up until that point, I’d found schoolwork challenging – except for reading. I loved it, devoured books and was praised for my ability to learn new vocabulary. When you’re behind, praise can truly inspire.  
My love of reading helped my writing catch up quickly and, at my new school, we were given a project to write a chapter book loosely based on one we’d read in class. 

I loved this project – I can still remember my book’s title – Rory and Ralph’s Roaring Adventures. It was based on a pride of lions. A friend had a mum with a ring binding machine and a laminator (I had friends in high places). She offered to bind our hand-illustrated books for us and laminate the covers. When she handed it back, I’d never been as proud of anything I’d produced in my life.  
I think I got some award for it, I can’t quite remember, but I do remember what it was like to cook up each exciting adventure for my lions, to draw inspiration from life around me, to sketch out fun dialogue with the characters my lions met – and to hold that book in my hand. 
I don’t know where that book is now, though I’d probably look back at it and feel quite embarrassed as it’s probably nowhere near as amazing as I remember it. But from that moment on, I wanted to be a writer. 

As a child, writing made me feel good about myself. As an adult, and a journalist, it provided an opportunity to help explain and shine a light on complex topics and hidden truths. In PR, it allows me to bring to life people’s personal and professional stories. 
Words carry so much power, and writing consequently carries a great deal of responsibility. So, I can now class myself a fully responsible, grown-up writer. 

I’m getting old and my memory’s not the best, but I can’t remember a time when I haven’t written stuff, writes Simon Burch.

Certainly not in the past 30 years of working in the media, nor the years preceding when my favourite subjects at school and university were essay-based. Nor the diaries I kept, or the journal I kept during a gap year spent backpacking overseas.

It’s just something I’ve always done, and I’m lucky, I think, to have made a living doing it.

So it’s rewarding to know that all these years it’s been enhancing my self-confidence, my critical thinking skills and encouraging my creativity, according to the National Literacy Trust, which is bemoaning the stats which suggest that writing is falling out of favour with young people.

When I think of the ease with which I can express myself in print, in ways which would leave me tongue-tied if I said them out loud, I can only agree.

And when I go into my loft to tidy it, find some of my cuttings and indulge myself by reading them, I still get a tingle of pride and pleasure from the way the letters and words work together to tell the story of someone’s life, often with some nifty wordplay along the way.

But be that as it may, to me writing is like art, or cooking, or whatever it is that people do to pass the time. It doesn’t matter how good you are, or whether or not someone else gets to see what you’ve produced, sitting down and writing something is great fun – and no two pieces are ever the same.

This blog was written by the team at Penguin PR. If you’d like to know more about how we can help raise the profile of your business, get in touch.

More Blogs

Other Blogs We Think You'll Like

Get in Touch

Penguin PR is based in Derby, but our happy feet take us to wherever we’re needed – we’ve got clients in Derby and Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and across the East Midlands.

If you would like to find out more about us or discuss a PR project that you have in mind, please feel free to ring us or drop us an email!

Our Media Centre

Our Latest Media News

Please feel free to browse our stories to see the range and depth of the news we produce. Every story on our Media Centre has been sent out to a journalist but we upload them to this site to give our clients an extra outlet for their stories and they even get a backlink for their SEO.