Stop - Unplug - Escape - Enjoy Stop - Unplug - Escape - Enjoy

Fennel’s JournalA Writer's Year

A Writer’s Year celebrates the writer’s craft. In it, lifestyle author Fennel Hudson champions the handwritten letter; it discusses vintage pens and writing ink, and celebrates things such as antique typewriters and the quirkiness of the creative mind. It’s a blend of observations. It’s funny. It’s serious. It’s real life. But most of all it's written to encourage would-be writers to find their voice, put pen to paper, and follow their dreams.

  • Contents

    Chapters

    1. Full Stop – A plea for you to write and send more handwritten letters.
    2. Introduction – Writing, thinking, dreaming.
    3. A Room Full of Books – A house with a secret study.
    4. To be an Author – Fame, fortune, and very warm pens. Read sample chapter.
    5. From Me to You – Letters past, present and future.
    6. Handwritten Letters  – Praise for the handwritten letter. Read sample chapter.
    7. His Nibs – The beauty of fountain pens. But fountain pens as a status symbol?
    8. The Magic Within – Time to think, and make some ink. Read sample chapter.
    9. A New Writing Desk – A three-legged writing desk encourages Fennel to be creative.
    10. Type, Writer – A vintage typewriter gets Fennel very excited.
    11. Out and About with a Notebook – Fennel's study goes mobile to get closer to nature.
    12. Candlelight – The best light for encouraging creativity.
    13. Making an Impression – The beauty of bespoke writing paper.
    14. The Night Shift – Fennel's creativity peaks when he ought to be sleeping.
    15. 'Dictionery' – Crossed words?
    16. Writing in Church – Fennel seeks 'discreet enlightenment'.
    17. Away from It All – The pleasures and importance of a writer's holiday.
    18. The Creative Fire – What do you think of when you gaze into the embers?
    19. The Lost Story of a Lost Pen – Fennel rediscovers his old fountain pen.
    20. Writer's Block – Fennel's Golden Rules of Writing. 
    21. Look back, but don't look down – The self-confidence to keep going.

    Publication details

    Published by Fennel’s Priory Limited. Global book distribution by Ingram.

    • First shared as handwritten letters in 2008
    • Limited edition collectors' magazine published in 2012
    • Abridged eBook published in 2013
    • Extended version in hardback and paperback published in 2017
    • Audiobook published in 2018

    Copyright © Fennel Hudson 2008, 2017

    • Hardback ISBN 978-1-909947-10-8
    • Paperback ISBN 978-1-909947-11-5
    • eBook ISBN 978-1-909947-09-2
    • Kindle ISBN 978-1-909947-08-5
    • Audiobook download ISBN 978-1-909947-94-8
    • Audiobook CD ISBN 978-1-909947-95-5

    A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.


     

  • Commentary

    Fennel's Commentary

    A Writer's Year was written in 2008, the year I returned to village life after spending nine months living alone in a wood beside a lake. My time away from society (to gather my thoughts and decide my priorities) led me to the conclusion that I had spent the majority of my life trying to 'fit in' with others' fashions and expectations. I'd lacked the self-confidence to 'stick my neck out' and be different, while lacking faith in my writing abilities and the conviction to pursue my dream of being a full-time writer. I'd spent a lifetime keeping a low profile, hoping that no one – other than my close friends and family – would see the real me or point a critical finger at the things I hold dear. 

    My year in the woods made me realise that a person only has one shot at life; and there's no point putting off the things that matter, or concealing the 'real you' from the world. Most importantly, that it doesn't matter what other people think, so long as you stay true to yourself and do the things that bring greatest pleasure. (If you take on-board all the feedback you're given from others, then your outward behaviour, appearance and creative output will end up looking, sounding and feeling as confused, lifeless, and inappropriate as a coffin at a christening. As is said, "A camel is a horse designed by committee.")

    The activity that brings me greatest pleasure, and most defines my character, is writing.

    I'd loved writing since I was a child (I wrote my first book while I was at school), has worked for years writing copy for others, and had written monthly articles in secret for many years. 2008 marked the ten-year anniversary of my secret writing phase, so I decided to become 'the person I was meant to be'. I reprioritised my life to allow my writing to flourish.

    I dedicated a whole Journal to the craft of writing, discussing everything from handwritten letters and vintage fountain pens to antique typewriters and the quirkiness of a creative mind. The result was my most personally rewarding book, which brought with it the confidence to share my writing with others. 

    If I hadn't had my writing year, and written A Writer's Year, then you wouldn't be reading this now. That my writing is relevant to you, and that it brings you pleasure, gives me the confidence to continue being me.

    Oh, in case you were wondering, the pen that features on the cover of A Writer's Year is a limited edtion Conway Stewart 'Wordsworth'. Number 11 of 368, it's a handcrafted pen made from traditional casein resin, with 18 carat solid gold nib and inlays. I purchased it as a commitment to myself: that one day I would be a 'proper' writer, earning my living from writing. I was not allowed to write with it until my first book was published, after which it would be used exclusively as my 'Signing Pen'. So if you have a signed copy of one of my books, then it's been signed with this pen. And if the ink's a rusty dark brown, then it's from the batch I made in 2008 during the 'Magic Within' moment.


     

  • Quotes

    Favourite Quote

    "What I am interested in, what I write and care about, exists in the slow lane, somewhere between hand-ploughed fields and a pint of real ale. Writing, with a fountain pen and ink from a bottle, onto real paper, is the simplest of things. Yet it can transport us to a different place entirely. Imagination is the real magic that exists in this world. Look inwards, to see outwards. And capture it in writing."

    Fennel Hudson, A Writer's Year, Fennel's Journal No. 3


    Other Quotes

    Imagination is the real magic that exists in this world. Fennel Hudson author quote.

    Look inwards, to see outwards, and capture it in writing. Fennel Hudson author quote.

    "One thing that has apparently come to an end is the thoughtful and careful art of handwriting. If the fax didn’t kill it then email sure did. Schoolchildren as young as six are given laptop computers upon which they learn to type. “How is your handwriting?” I ask. “Do you write in pencil or pen?” They stare back at me with squinting eyes and a look that needs no words. Get with it grandad."

    • Fennel Hudson, A Writer's Year, Fennel's Journal No. 3

     

  • Testimonials

    Reader Testimonials

    “What Fennel has written is not so much a eulogy for the handwritten letter as a call-to-arms for everyone to follow their dreams and make the most of their God-given talents. This is a genuinely inspiring read.”

    “It filled me with calm and smiles. I loved the part: ‘If a pen can communicate our thoughts, dreams and emotions and be the voice of our soul, then writing ink is the medium that carries the message.’ It shows how important and generous writing can be.”

    “It really is a life-changing read. A Writer’s Year is excellent and has rekindled my letter-writing youth!”


     

Chapters

  1. Full Stop – A plea for you to write and send more handwritten letters.
  2. Introduction – Writing, thinking, dreaming.
  3. A Room Full of Books – A house with a secret study.
  4. To be an Author – Fame, fortune, and very warm pens. Read sample chapter.
  5. From Me to You – Letters past, present and future.
  6. Handwritten Letters  – Praise for the handwritten letter. Read sample chapter.
  7. His Nibs – The beauty of fountain pens. But fountain pens as a status symbol?
  8. The Magic Within – Time to think, and make some ink. Read sample chapter.
  9. A New Writing Desk – A three-legged writing desk encourages Fennel to be creative.
  10. Type, Writer – A vintage typewriter gets Fennel very excited.
  11. Out and About with a Notebook – Fennel's study goes mobile to get closer to nature.
  12. Candlelight – The best light for encouraging creativity.
  13. Making an Impression – The beauty of bespoke writing paper.
  14. The Night Shift – Fennel's creativity peaks when he ought to be sleeping.
  15. 'Dictionery' – Crossed words?
  16. Writing in Church – Fennel seeks 'discreet enlightenment'.
  17. Away from It All – The pleasures and importance of a writer's holiday.
  18. The Creative Fire – What do you think of when you gaze into the embers?
  19. The Lost Story of a Lost Pen – Fennel rediscovers his old fountain pen.
  20. Writer's Block – Fennel's Golden Rules of Writing. 
  21. Look back, but don't look down – The self-confidence to keep going.

Publication details

Published by Fennel’s Priory Limited. Global book distribution by Ingram.

  • First shared as handwritten letters in 2008
  • Limited edition collectors' magazine published in 2012
  • Abridged eBook published in 2013
  • Extended version in hardback and paperback published in 2017
  • Audiobook published in 2018

Copyright © Fennel Hudson 2008, 2017

  • Hardback ISBN 978-1-909947-10-8
  • Paperback ISBN 978-1-909947-11-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-909947-09-2
  • Kindle ISBN 978-1-909947-08-5
  • Audiobook download ISBN 978-1-909947-94-8
  • Audiobook CD ISBN 978-1-909947-95-5

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.


 

Fennel's Commentary

A Writer's Year was written in 2008, the year I returned to village life after spending nine months living alone in a wood beside a lake. My time away from society (to gather my thoughts and decide my priorities) led me to the conclusion that I had spent the majority of my life trying to 'fit in' with others' fashions and expectations. I'd lacked the self-confidence to 'stick my neck out' and be different, while lacking faith in my writing abilities and the conviction to pursue my dream of being a full-time writer. I'd spent a lifetime keeping a low profile, hoping that no one – other than my close friends and family – would see the real me or point a critical finger at the things I hold dear. 

My year in the woods made me realise that a person only has one shot at life; and there's no point putting off the things that matter, or concealing the 'real you' from the world. Most importantly, that it doesn't matter what other people think, so long as you stay true to yourself and do the things that bring greatest pleasure. (If you take on-board all the feedback you're given from others, then your outward behaviour, appearance and creative output will end up looking, sounding and feeling as confused, lifeless, and inappropriate as a coffin at a christening. As is said, "A camel is a horse designed by committee.")

The activity that brings me greatest pleasure, and most defines my character, is writing.

I'd loved writing since I was a child (I wrote my first book while I was at school), has worked for years writing copy for others, and had written monthly articles in secret for many years. 2008 marked the ten-year anniversary of my secret writing phase, so I decided to become 'the person I was meant to be'. I reprioritised my life to allow my writing to flourish.

I dedicated a whole Journal to the craft of writing, discussing everything from handwritten letters and vintage fountain pens to antique typewriters and the quirkiness of a creative mind. The result was my most personally rewarding book, which brought with it the confidence to share my writing with others. 

If I hadn't had my writing year, and written A Writer's Year, then you wouldn't be reading this now. That my writing is relevant to you, and that it brings you pleasure, gives me the confidence to continue being me.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the pen that features on the cover of A Writer's Year is a limited edtion Conway Stewart 'Wordsworth'. Number 11 of 368, it's a handcrafted pen made from traditional casein resin, with 18 carat solid gold nib and inlays. I purchased it as a commitment to myself: that one day I would be a 'proper' writer, earning my living from writing. I was not allowed to write with it until my first book was published, after which it would be used exclusively as my 'Signing Pen'. So if you have a signed copy of one of my books, then it's been signed with this pen. And if the ink's a rusty dark brown, then it's from the batch I made in 2008 during the 'Magic Within' moment.


 

Favourite Quote

"What I am interested in, what I write and care about, exists in the slow lane, somewhere between hand-ploughed fields and a pint of real ale. Writing, with a fountain pen and ink from a bottle, onto real paper, is the simplest of things. Yet it can transport us to a different place entirely. Imagination is the real magic that exists in this world. Look inwards, to see outwards. And capture it in writing."

Fennel Hudson, A Writer's Year, Fennel's Journal No. 3


Other Quotes

Imagination is the real magic that exists in this world. Fennel Hudson author quote.

Look inwards, to see outwards, and capture it in writing. Fennel Hudson author quote.

"One thing that has apparently come to an end is the thoughtful and careful art of handwriting. If the fax didn’t kill it then email sure did. Schoolchildren as young as six are given laptop computers upon which they learn to type. “How is your handwriting?” I ask. “Do you write in pencil or pen?” They stare back at me with squinting eyes and a look that needs no words. Get with it grandad."

  • Fennel Hudson, A Writer's Year, Fennel's Journal No. 3

 

Reader Testimonials

“What Fennel has written is not so much a eulogy for the handwritten letter as a call-to-arms for everyone to follow their dreams and make the most of their God-given talents. This is a genuinely inspiring read.”

“It filled me with calm and smiles. I loved the part: ‘If a pen can communicate our thoughts, dreams and emotions and be the voice of our soul, then writing ink is the medium that carries the message.’ It shows how important and generous writing can be.”

“It really is a life-changing read. A Writer’s Year is excellent and has rekindled my letter-writing youth!”


 

Explore the Journals

Fennel’s Journal is the heartfelt and entertaining account of one man’s search for an old-fashioned and peaceful rural life. Written by lifestyle author Fennel Hudson, the Journal traces his attempts to balance the pressures of modern living by following the mantra of ‘Stop – Unplug – Escape – Enjoy’.

The Priory, what's in a name?

The Priory is a philosophy and a belief system that says it is possible to balance the ever-growing complexities and pace of modern life. It is also a celebration of wildlife and country living, those things that serve as an antidote to the concrete claustrophobia of towns and cities.

The Priory Philosophy

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