A few years ago, there was a Facebook tag going around, asking people to name ten books that influenced them. I was looking back on the choices made by 18-year-old me and thought I’d share them with you, with some thoughts from present me!


1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern [Fantasy]
Full disclosure: I haven’t actually finished reading this. I must’ve been reading it around the time I made this list, but I definitely haven’t read enough to have the book influence me much. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed what I read, and hope to return to it soon.

2. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller [Play]
I’m quite sure I cried at the end of this, and any story that can evoke that much emotion is definitely an influencer for me. I remember being fascinated by the complexity of the main character — I wrote a blog post about him, if you’re interested. (Don’t worry, it’s spoiler-free!)

3. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling [Fantasy/Children’s fiction]
If you’ve been around here long (at least five seconds) you might’ve noticed that I like Harry Potter. This series truly has been inspiring to me — it fostered not only my love of books and writing, but also stands as an example of what happens when you refuse to give up.
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London is, unsurprisingly, steeped in literary and publishing history. Last week, I had the chance to go on a walking tour around some spots featured in various pieces of literature, or ones that were integral to the city’s legacy of publishing.

I thought I would share what I learnt with you! Before we begin, please put your seatbelt on and do not stick your head out of the windows at any point during the tour. First stop…

…the Free Word Centre, which describes itself as a hub for literature and free expression. Just nearby is 37a Clerkenwell Green, where Lenin published for a time.

IMG_571637a Clerkenwell Green (the red door)

Fun fact: The name ‘Clerkenwell’ comes from Clerks’ Well, where mystery plays were performed in the Middle Ages. The word ‘clerk’ comes from Middle English, and defines a literate person or clergyman. (All this was related on the tour, but can also be found on Wikipedia.) Read More

How to Succeed at Failure

As I’ve written in the ‘About’ section, this blog is a documentation of my journey towards my dream: to be a successful, published writer. I never imagined it would be easy. In the past, I’ve written about comparisonlosing and gaining inspiration, originality and getting my writing to more people.

Now, the more I get involved with the publishing industry, the more I realise that it’s not an understatement to say it’s competitive. So inevitably, failure has become a part of my journey, as has a question I frequently ask myself:

How am I supposed to stand out if I’m average?

True, I have a list of work placements and extracurricular activities on my CV; so does everyone else. I have good grades; so do many people. And I love books and writing, as does everyone in the industry. So how can I be anyone’s first choice if I’m not extraordinary in any way? Read More

Milly Schmidt

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