Thanks to a Mentor

Dear Readers, in February 2014 I went on a course called ‘How to Write a Blog that People Will Want to Read’, run by the Gentle Author who created Spitalfields Life, probably the best London blog around. By the end of the weekend, Bug Woman was born. This weekend I will be attending the Gentle Author’s Advanced Blogging course, and I have no doubt that I will come back full of ideas for how to take the blog forward. But for now, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite Gentle Author posts. A post has appeared every day since August 2009, and the Gentle Author hopes to keep going until their ten thousandth post, which will be in 2037. That seemed like a long time ago once, but now it seems just around the corner! The Gentle Author has produced a daily post despite breaking an arm, having Covid and having all manner of personal tribulations.They are an inspiration.

It might be a bit early for Christmas, but I love this post so much.

As a closet cat lady, I love this post and I love the Gentle Author’s celebration of their cats Mr Pussy and Schrodinger.

But perhaps what I like most about the Spitalfields Life blog are the pen portraits of the remarkable people who live in the area. It’s hard to choose favourites, but to give you a taster, here is George Perrin, the Ice Cream Seller, Paul Gardner, the Paper Bag Seller, and this one, which I found very moving – Sammy McCarthy, Flyweight Champion.

The Gentle Author has been very involved in campaigns to save Spitalfields from the developers who are destroying it: the campaign to save the Bethnal Green mulberry was successful (twice), the campaign to save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry continues, and there is the ongoing fight to save the Truman Brewery from becoming yet another generic shopping mall. I am not sure if the Gentle Author came up with the word ‘facadism’ for what’s happening to so many of London’s historic buildings, but it’s the perfect way to describe the cynicism of saving the facade and replacing everything else with mundane, shoddy buildings. If you want to see what this looks like, have a read here.

And finally, if you need some cheer as the long nights approach and the temperature drops, have a look at the Gentle Author’s post on winter flowers here. What a great idea!

3 thoughts on “Thanks to a Mentor

  1. rescuedogdexter

    I too was a student on the Gentle Authors course. I was meandering along before I attended. Within a few posts after attending I felt like I had more structure. Some may disagree with that! I also like the pen pictures are articles on the people that make their life in Spitalfields. The “ordinary” people who make it their home and who love it so much.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Ah I didn’t realise that you were a Gentle Author alumnus – I love the pen portraits. GA really helps to preserve and publicise the stories of ‘ordinary’ people as you say.

  2. Julia Harrison

    It was a red letter day indeed when I attended the Gentle Author’s blog writing course back in February 2020. Little did our packed group know what was just around the corner. Reading the GA’s posts helped start my day on a positive note during lockdown. What surprised me more was that I kept on writing my own Silver Locket blog posts each week. I will always be amazed and grateful for the way the writing exercises we did that weekend unlocked something for me.


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