FINDING FUN AGAIN Educational and Non-Fiction


Have you lost the fun in writing? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. Tizzie Frankish is helping us to find fun again in our four-part series. This week, she is finding fun in educational and non-fiction writing.


Over the last ten years of writing, I have toyed with the idea of writing different types of fiction, but I always thought it would derail my children's fiction stories. I was deeply entrenched in this lane with the Sat Nav set on achieving publication (*sigh!) and other types of writing were an unnecessary diversion (*double sigh!). Thus, it was a long, isolated and often joyless road, but since ‘My Year of Finding the Fun Again!’ was all about the journey, not the destination, I set out to find as many diversions as I could. So, when a friend shared an educational writing opportunity requiring a story pitch and a four-page sample for a young series, I went for it…full throttle.


 As this was a ‘finding fun’ challenge, I wrote the whole story just for the joy of the experience- the characters pretty much wrote their own story. I wish they were as helpful with the tight word count and language specifications, but it was not to be - so I spent a lot of time researching this. I love language and problem solving, so the research was equally as enjoyable. I didn’t think any more of it, until I received an email from the editor (months later) saying they had a character in mind for my style of writing and would I write/send a slightly longer sample? As luck (or seven-rejected-manuscripts-of-hard-work), would have it, I had two suitable manuscripts. People say nothing in writing is ever wasted, and this particular piece of advice was certainly true here. To cut a long process short, I was commissioned for a title in the education series, appointed an editor and off I went on my educational fiction journey. And you know what? That was an absolute blast too!


 Buoyed by my success with writing educational fiction (and thanks to another kind writing friend) I was invited to pitch my completed educational texts to an independent publisher. Only one small problem ... I didn’t have any completed texts. So, rising to the ‘finding fun challenge’, I brushed up on my early year's phonics knowledge, researched published stories, brainstormed ideas and threw words at the page. My stories required A LOT of redrafting due to the additional factors to consider, such as phonics requirements, high frequency words, specific word counts per book/page etc. For me, it was a jigsaw puzzle, where the pieces didn’t fit and I problem solved it till they did (I loved this!) Ultimately, none of the books were accepted, but I was having too much fun on other writing challenges to mind.  


One such challenge was responding to a call out on Twitter for a ‘writer for hire’ at a non-fiction publisher where we were required to write a sample piece on mindfulness. I work in a Health and Wellbeing department at a University and often share mindfulness strategies, so I took great delight in writing my ‘Stop and Swap’ thought method in the style of the one of the publishers' books. I revelled in writing non-fiction on a topic I had knowledge of, and lost myself in the creative flow (don’t you love it when this happens!) I was pleased with my sample and used it as a handout for the students I work with. Great stuff- on with the next opportunity!

Randomly, months later I received an email - We've reviewed your writing sample in-house, and we’d be delighted to keep you on file - although projects with us only come up every so often and it may be a while before we contact you. That’s nice, I thought and got on with whatever I was doing at the time (cleaning up after my teenage kids, no doubt!) So, I couldn’t believe it when five days later, a colleague at the publishing house emailed asking me to submit a further sample for a young person’s IP project. Why not, should be fun! I had no idea how many other writers were writing sample pages, and as always with these opportunities, I imagined other writer’s submissions to be off the scale, so I wrote the sample purely for the experience and enjoyment. Win-win! However, there was a bigger and unexpected win around the corner... Reader, I got the gig! (But that’s a whole other story).


Whilst both writing experiences resulted in outcomes I hadn’t hoped for, the end goal was never the was essentially a by-product of having fun with the creative process of writing outside of my own lane. However, these experiences were reigniting my writing spark and fulfilling the aim of the initial challenge idea- writing for the love of it (and who knows, maybe this was evident on the page). Alongside the joy it brought, writing a different type of fiction has given me experience with writing to briefs, creating samples to meet requirements and working with editors to tight deadlines. The non-fiction writing has also equipped me with the skills to create my own non-fiction proposals, something I have totally shied away from in the past. I'm learning, I'm growing and I'm ABSOLUTELY loving writing again (and we haven't even got to the end of my year of finding fun yet!). If you have always wanted to try different types of writing… GO FOR IT! If you have any questions about finding the fun in educational and non fiction, please comment below and please join me next week for my final article on Finding Fun in...Different forms of fiction.



  • If you write young children's fiction, dust off old manuscripts and recycle plots and characters for the educational fiction market. It’s helpful to brush up on your phonics knowledge and plot complexities by reading sample texts in the relevant age group.There are lots of educational publisher's and individual submission guidelines can be found (not always very easily) on their websites. The following publishers might be a good place to start.

 Scholastic Education

 Schofield and Sims:

Freelance for Collins Big Cat:

· If non-fiction floats your writing boat, but you're not sure where to start, there are courses available. I particularly enjoyed Rashmi Sirdeshpande’s course for Writers and Artists ( and Isabel Thomas’ course on Domestika. (

· Some Non- fiction publishers, such as Jessica Kingsley (Write For Us | Jessica Kingsley Publishers - UK ( ) accept unsolicited proposals, and they have written a great article on Demystifying the Publishing Process



‘Having fun is not a diversion from a successful life; it is the pathway to it.’ 

Martha Beck 


*Header image: Shannon Ell and Tita Berredo


After spending most of her time BC (Before Children) travelling and studying or travelling to study, Tizzie Frankish settled back in her hometown of Coventry (UK), with her partner and teenage sons. She has a 20-year career in education and currently works as a Specialist Support Tutor across two universities in the Midlands, where she coaches neurodiverse learners, and she gets a fascinating insight into all the subjects she hasn’t got around to studying (yet!). She has also guest-lectured on a creative writing degree, specialising in writing for children.

Find Tizzie on Twitter: @tizzief

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