Author, Speaker, Ambassador

Creator of Jamie Johnson, author of Unstoppable and trying his hand at poetry too…

On this page, you will find a compilation of Dan’s other writing.
Also, if you click the buttons above, you can view his writing tips and the articles and interviews in which he has featured.

A poem about ambition

You can also view the transcript below:

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Poem

Ambition

Ambition – how much do we actually need?
A thorny question indeed

Yes, we need some of you to succeed
But remember the King of Scotland – Take heed!

Ambition, our fuel, you come deep from our core
But you’re also temptation – the nails on the claw.

Ambition, exact dosage of you is required
Just enough to keep us inspired

Without you, we’re empty and often quite hollow.
But you’re friends with rule and envy – how does that follow?

We get it, we understand – you’re a part of our lives:
Our instinct, our being – our drive to survive.

But, Ambition how much do we actually need?
How about this as a measure to succeed:

Enough to get us out of bed, to fight for what we know is right
But not too much that we can’t sleep, once we turn out the light.

A poem about diversity written for the Premier League

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Poem

Funny Old Lot

Funny old lot, us human beings.
We see someone different, someone we’ve not even met,
And some hidden part of us senses a threat.

But how do we make friends, how does the circle widen,
If we don’t walk forward, even when we’re frightened?

Funny old lot, us human beings.
The ultimate conundrum for our big little brains,
To understand how we’re all different and yet still the same.

We cry, we sleep, if you cut us, don’t we bleed?
We do funny burps, we sneeze, giggle…and breathe.

We’re a single idea, in a billion fragments of light.
Everyone of us our own expression; all variations of right.

Put two magnets together – original opposite attraction,
The pieces of a jigsaw; differences allow the interaction.

Let’s not for a moment think we are grand.
Human-kind is wise only when she tries to understand.
Today’s king, tomorrow’s dirt under the beggar’s feet.
Life is a search we’re destined never to complete.

While we’re here, we all have choices to make.
Look, stranger, tell me, which road will you take?

Will you turn in your shoulder and make our island a little colder?
Or offer your hand and let your warmth enfold her?

It’s us, we’re the funny old lot who make up the jigsaw.
And, if I may hold your attention for just one moment more:

See that different looking person who’s just walked in, through the door?
Over to you, the next move is all yours…

Do you feel threatened? Do you feel like starting a war?

Or does some hidden part of you recognise the missing piece of your core?

A poem about success and failure

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Poem

Fail to Succeed

A missed shot, that goes just past the post.
That dropped catch when truly you needed it most.
So, what about the next match? There will, for sure, be another
Will we still turn to the past? Or can we yet recover?

When the next whistle blows, are you the one who can fight again?
Or is that enough? Is, for you. the beginning already the end?
To fail is to finish
To fail is to fall
Rejection the dagger, stabbing you with the thought you’re nothing at all

But what if there was another way?
A thought that keeps recurring
Failure is but a step on the journey. We can keep returning.

But that would change the frame, change the name and it would be pretty cool
It would mean we could fail as many times as we liked
Getting up after each and every fall

You knock us down, we stand up tall
We know the secret, Our eye’s on the ball
We know it’s ok to fail and you can write this in a letter

Each time we fail, we’ll just fail a little bit better
So start the match, blow that whistle, we’ll still be there to answer your call
And we know that, in the end, the final time we fail, we won’t be failing at all.

Try a Writing Challenge in 366 words

Dan’s Football Journey

This is a short story I wrote about my love of football and someone that inspired me to tell my own stories. Not all writers start off writing long books and writing short stories is a great way to develop your own writing skills and style. This piece of writing is only 366 words. I challenge you to write your own story in as many words! It can be about anything you want, true or not. Put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards) and most of all, have fun!


This is a true story.

I actually enjoyed going to school. Well, on Wednesdays, anyway.
On Wednesdays it was Jack’s turn to give Adam and me a lift in to school.
Jack was my neighbour Adam’s dad, and he had the best job in the world. He was a writer. He’d written lots of things that had been on TV and he’d even written films too.
That meant that he was brilliant at telling stories. With only his deep, rasping voice, he could make his stories as exciting as watching a film at the cinema.
“Tell us a story, Jack!” we’d say as we got into his car.
Sometimes he wasn’t in the mood, but we always knew how to wear him down.
“Go on!” we’d beg. “Tell us a football story.”
Jack smiled. He loved football as much as we did.
I’ll always remember one of Jack’s stories about a striker called Derek Dooley. Jack said Derek Dooley was the best striker he’d ever seen.
He was big, strong and quick – unstoppable. He scored 62 goals in his 61 games and the whole country knew about him. He was going to be a star.
Derek Dooley was just about to play for England when he got injured. He’d gone in for a tackle with a goalkeeper and broken his leg. His leg became infected with something called gangrene. In the end, he had to have his leg cut off.
“What?!” Adam and I said. “He had his whole leg cut off? What happened to him?”
But it was too late. We’d already got to school. The journey had gone in a flash.
“I’ll tell you another story next week,” Jack promised. “Only seven days to wait.”
I went into school and spent the rest of the day thinking about Derek Dooley and what he might have achieved if he hadn’t broken his leg.
That was twenty years ago and I’m grown up now, but I can still remember those stories and those journeys to school.
I like to think that Jack would have been happy at what I did when I grew up.
I became a writer. I tell stories to children. Often about football

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