I’ve reported on health for NHS Choices, The Independent, Take a Break, and many more publications.

I provided a bank of NHS content, including on weight loss and healthier eating habits.

At the time I was 17 stone — really not good for my 5ft 4 frame. On the way to developing Type 2 diabetes, I contributed to both Diabetes Balance magazine and the sadly now defunct Sweet. Years earlier at a regional evening paper, I’d reported on moves to support local people wanting to give up smoking, typing away with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.

I turned a corner with my health and reported for Metro a couple of years back on how I shed eight stone and put my diabetes in remission.

As I recounted my experience of grief and offered tips for others in The Guardian and Daily Mail, it gave me a sense of purpose. I’ve got a current commission from the I Paper to return to this subject. I’ve also just filed for Metro again, this time under the most personal headline I think I’ll ever see as it’s to do with contraceptive health.

My tips for anyone considering writing publicly on topics inspired by your own experience are:

Make sure you feel ready – my most recent and personal story has been bubbling under for years and I knew I wanted to tell it, but was nervous about going into print. Only now have I felt right.

Be aware of the likely demands of your target publication and provide copy that doesn’t beg too many questions – I think national newspaper sub editors are some of the nosiest people around! But it’s their job and they just want to give readers the best experience.

Handle subs’ queries professionally and quickly – when you are so close to your story, getting questions back from your commissioning editor can feel a bit disheartening- but it happens a lot, you’ve not failed. After addressing questions on my latest piece, feedback was that my copy was spot on and they’d love for me to write again.

Share with friends and family that you’re planning to write and let them know it’s published – having been featured on the subject of sex in The Express and The Mail, for me it’s not always an easy conversation with my parents – and definitely not my in-laws. I well remember my late sister-in-law greeting my late husband with a cheery cry of ‘hello Tiger’ immediately after I’d shared some ‘bedroom secrets.’ (Really nothing to raise any eyebrows!)

Always get permission from anyone involved, and make sure they’re also happy to have pictures included – I really want to write about my experience of the loss of my brother, to help others. It’s not yet a year since he’s gone. I’d like to share insights from our family’s devastating experience of 10 months of coma after a car crash. I won’t write a word until I know family is ok with that.

Linda Aitchison

*Photo to show I’m doing ok!

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