The short version:
- Name: John Stammers (24) — writing under the pen name J.W. Stammers (he/him)
- Mission: To smith words that inspire, entertain, comfort and maybe even educate
- Dream Role: Full-time oddball storyteller
- Currently: Honing my craft whilst training as a digital marketer
- Location: Essex, UK (for now)
- Character: Obsessive bookworm, opinionated TV glutton, casual video gamer, Whovian, theatre-lover, advocate for the arts and mental wellbeing, and according to colleagues: “a good egg” and “just a really great guy and nice to be around.”
The long(er) version:
Hi, I’m John, and I love stories. I love reading them, coming up with them, telling them, talking about them, and helping others tell theirs. Stories on their own might not change the world, but they equip us with the tools to imagine and communicate how to make the world a better place. We can’t change the world without stories.
This blog is my space to tell my stories. What this means is I’m predominantly writing for me. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take anything away from me talking to myself.
If there’s anything I’ve learnt from talking to people over the years, it’s that sharing your own thoughts and experiences can be an invaluable lesson for someone else. We all learn from each other, and it is my hope you’ll be able to take something away with you after reading this blog. Or at the very least you will have had a good time and won’t be longing for minutes of your life back.
That’s also not to say I’m only capable of talking to myself. Whilst at university I led 40-ish writing workshops for university students, and I’ve helped a good few people become more confident in their own writing and share their stories.
I’ve also written for blogs and social media in a professional capacity. So I dare say I’ve got the ability to help brands tell their stories too.
Regarding what I write about, I consider myself a Jack of several trades. I love to write in many forms and genres. Naturally, I’ll blog about all the different writing I’ll do. Fingers crossed, it will include a mix of professional and personal projects.
The only consistent genre I could ever apply to my work is an obsession for the weird/fantastical. My fiction lives within a dreamscape, and my future output will hopefully only get stranger. I often think my poetry is my most down-to-earth independent creative work.
My content writing is typically more grounded. But who’s to say it always has to be?
The actual long version:
It didn’t all start when I was born, but it was close enough…
Growing up, I didn’t like to re-enact what I’d seen in a video game or on TV. When playing with others, I was much happier when I got to lead the story than playing Follow the Leader. My friends and I may have inhabited the worlds we saw on screen, but I always pushed for unique characters to tell our own narratives. From a young age, it was clear I was always meant to be a creator.
I’ve dabbled in a number of different art forms. Annoyingly, many didn’t stick. My stickmen are questionable, my crafts need a lot of work, video editing requires more patience, and if it weren’t for Canva I’d be a hopeless designer. I also don’t have much of an ear for music and can’t sing either, so goodness knows what I intended to do with all those terrible songs I was writing from ages 14-17.
Fortunately, I’ve always had a natural flair for writing. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved painting vivid pictures on the canvases of my mind. From scribbling ideas in notebooks and on post-its throughout my teen years to writing prose, plays and poetry as an adult. No matter what I turn my hand to, it’s always involved writing.
Writing has been the one constant throughout my entire life. It’s helped me through rough times, it’s made others smile and laugh, and it’s led to several successes. It’s what most people know me for, and it’s inevitably what I’m going to be doing in some capacity right up until the day I die. Just you watch me pass away with a pen in my hand.
(Aside: I’m also a half-decent actor on a good day.)
A linear career path probably isn’t in my future. I’ve wanted many different jobs over the years, including teacher, video game developer, rapper (yes, I know), therapist, full-time author, content writer, editor, bookseller, George R. R. Martin’s amanuensis, and Doctor Who showrunner. The titles I’ve held include customer service rep, production assistant, assistant director, workshop coordinator, society president, and librarian. And I’ll probably adopt some of those titles again and acquire others. I’m certainly going to start calling myself a blogger from now on.
Unapologetically a generalist, I have an array of skills and interests, and I’m always eager to learn more. A dedication to learning, in my opinion, is far more important than whether you’re a generalist or specialist. At the very least, it keeps life exciting. More importantly, it’s the mindset that equips you to handle life’s plot twists.
I’m still very much in the early years of my career. I’ve experienced both successes and failures, and I consider them equally valuable. Part of being a life-long learner is embracing a growth mindset. It’s something I’ve neglected to remember over the past year of lockdown blues and monotonous jobseeking. But I’ve had an attitude shift and I’m intent on stubbornly keeping that shift.
Speaking of learning, in 2018 I graduated from the University of Essex with an MA in Playwriting. I also hold a First-Class Degree in Creative Writing from the same university. But don’t ask me about my thesis. Ask me about my favourite projects and all the wonderful people I had the privilege to work with.
Outside of classes I was rarely idle. I was an excitable theatregoer and active member of the Theatre Arts Society. Until university, I hadn’t seen much theatre outside school plays—and I rarely attended those. That all changed when I saw Woman in Black in 2015. I’ve been in love with theatre ever since.
So in love with theatre, I gave playwriting a go on a whim in 2016 for a society competition. Much to my surprise, I was shortlisted. An even bigger shock was learning I was the only second-year and non-Drama student to make the cut. My silly little tragicomedy about a man falling in love with his sexbot was then performed on the Lakeside Theatre main stage. Spurred on by the positive reception, I penned two more short plays that were shortlisted in the years that followed.
I also sat on the executive team for the university’s Writing Society. I served as Workshop Coordinator for two years, whilst also serving as President during that second year. Across those two years, we transformed a fledgling society into a hot topic on campus. During the year of my leadership, the Societies Guild awarded us Gold Standard and we were nominated for “Best Society” in the National Societies Awards 2018.
University was also where I faced some of the greatest challenges to my mental health. I’ve been grappling with depression since my teen years, and whilst it most certainly doesn’t define me, it has been intrinsically linked to many of my experiences and things I’ve written. Mental illness will inevitably be something I blog about. But I always aim to write from a place of learning and healing.
Just as I’ve dabbled in different genres and art forms, the content I write will likely vary (at least for now). Professional writers might call this ill-advised. After all, the “riches are in the niches” as some American copywriters say. But where I’m from, rich doesn’t rhyme with niche, so maybe I get to play by different rules.
I will write about writing. I love to share what I’m reading, too. I also want to experiment and try some creative posts you wouldn’t expect. And I’m brainstorming several different blog series ideas. You can 100% guarantee, though, that you will get my authentic voice, however I decide to use it.
Not sure what more I could possibly share right now. Anything more you could possibly want to know about me is best learnt from reading my writing. It also happens to be how I best learn about myself, too.
Last updated 11.06.2021