OMFG! So excited right now. Not only have I been to 3 AMAZING author/blogger events in the last five months, but I now have another one to go to too!
First off, way back in November (I know – I haven’t written for a while!) was the Books and the City Creative Writing Masterclass at Simon & Schuster, organised by the brilliant Sara-Jade Virtue. I met some friends for life there; Susie Sharp, Mary Ann Lewis, Natalie Ross, Emma Crees to mention but a few. Author Milly Johnson was there, along with her agent Lizzy Kremer, and the beautiful Isabelle Broom, book reviewer for Heat Magazine. Some of us had the honour of a one-on-one with BATC editors; either Jo Dickinson or Clare Hey, which was invaluable. Everyone there was lovely, from experts from Waterstones and Kobo, to the delectable Nico from BATC. He is almost as delicious as Clare’s cakes. And at the end of all that there was a shit-load of brilliant novels that were ours for the taking! I had very long arms walking back to the train station.
I came away with personal advice from Jo which I took on board, and re-jigged My Unintended. Hopefully it reads better now. I’ve been accepted by the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writer’s Scheme, and have sent the revised manuscript off to be critiqued. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they can help me!
Then S-J (Sara-Jade for those in the know) invited us all back to join BATC for their Spring Blogger event. Those of us who could make it connected with wonderful authors Milly Johnson (again), Heidi-Jo Swain (now a graduate of our Masterclass, whose novel The Cherry Tree Cafe is being published in July), Andy Jones (The Two of Us – you HAVE TO READ IT!!), Jane Costello (The Time of Our Lives) and Iona Gray (Letters to the Lost). There was more cake. And more fizz. And Mary and I had by this time overcome our shyness at taking advantage of the free books on offer and leapt on the tables with open arms.
Then only yesterday, I attended a #LOVEWriting event organised by the brilliantly versatile author of picture books, children’s books, YA books and soon to be adult books (not in THAT sense of the word, at least I don’t think so. That’s more me!) Tamsyn Murray (Completely Cassidy). Her guest speakers were Miranda Dickinson (Sunday Times Best Selling Author) and Julie Cohen, author of more than 20 published books including the heartbreaking Dear Thing.
As soon as I walked in the room I was all fan-girly again (I don’t know if Andy Jones has quite recovered from the BATC event). To be in the presence of these sublime published authors, to find that they were every bit as wonderful as I thought they’d be – and, they are NORMAL. Well, as normal as us writers can be…
And yes, I include myself in that – I AM A WRITER. If you write, you are a writer. That was drummed into us yesterday. Everyone wants to be a writer; but there’s relatively few of us who do actually sit down, be it at a desk, scribbling on a note book, on the corner of an old IKEA sofa with a laptop or by plastering anything that doesn’t move with Post-It notes, and WRITE. We write, therefore we are writers!
And today – well,to be quote a line from ‘Pretty Woman’, I nearly pee’d ma pants when I saw that the lovely Lindsey Kelk (she of the I Heart series), Lucy Diamond (The Beach Cafe) and debut author Lucy Holliday (soon to be published A Night in with Audrey Hepburn) are running ‘A Fabulous Night In’ near my almost favourite place in the whole world, The Shard. Squee! And other girlie exclamations.
So I am inspired. Honestly – if a writer was to ask me for advice (haha!) then I would say: GO ON ONE OF THESE WRITING DAYS! If only to fangirl embarrassingly. But you end up making so many friends and building that all important support network.
And do NETWORK! Twitter is an invaluable tool – as long as you don’t end up in the Bermuda Triangle of Twitter – Facebook – email… with your writing time disappearing in the middle. Yes – guilty as charged, m’lud!
And READ! Loads. You pick up styles, see what people are reading. But there is also the danger that you are too busy reading to write. Yes, I hold my hands up to that one too.
And WRITE! Even if you set a target of 100 words a day – we were told yesterday that quite often you will find you have written way more than 100 words. It doesn’t even have to be your WIP. Today, mine is this blog, which has been much neglected.
And CELEBRATE! Everything little helps (sorry for the plagerism, Tesco). And who needs an excuse for chocolate, cake or fizz?
Oh and I haven’t even mentioned that my ‘Muse’ have a new a new album coming out and I saw them recently at an intimate gig in Brighton and am seeing them at my very first festival at Download in a couple of months – so expect a LOT of very excitable writing soon!
I apologise to my family (particularly my husband) in advance…