Saturday, 19 June 2010

You are not alone

As a writer you can sometimes feel like you are alone in your struggle to finish a book. I have never been to any workshop specifically for writers until today.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I booked my place at the Insider Guide to HOW TO GET PUBLISHED organised by Writers and Artists’ Yearbook a few months ago but when I walked through the ‘Free Word Centre” doors at a few minutes past ten in the morning, I was a bit nervous about being in the midst of established writers and sticking out like a sore thumb.

After the introductions, Richard Charkin, the Executive Director of Bloomsbury spoke about the publishing industry and the many phases that it’s been through. He laid out some not so encouraging statistics but informative all the same. It was good to see from the publisher’s view point and he did a good job at reminding us that at the end of the day, publishing is a money making industry and making profit for shareholders is their goal.

Jo Herbert, the editor of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook took us through the steps towards getting published, a reminder that your work as a writer does not end when you finish writing your 80,000 words. With most literary agents receiving nothing less than 20 manuscripts everyday! You have to stand out from the pack… no pressure at all ;)

When it was time for lunch, I got talking to some of the writers and realised there was no reason for my initial worry. Although some of them are on their second novel, they still have pretty much the same struggles as I.

Alison Baverstock, a writer, publisher and MA Publishing tutor amongst other topics touched on inspiration and what she said which I thought was so spot was that ‘inspiration finds you when you are working.’ She further said; You have to stick at your desk.

I know what it is like sitting in front of a blank sheet of paper or PC screen and waiting for one word to come… one sentence, and nothing worth writing seems to come. It was so refreshing to know that even seasoned writers go through the same challenges I go through.

Listening to Katie Hickman, a best selling author of both fiction and non fiction tell her own story of how she went through rejections and being dropped by her agent further drives home the truth that Carole Blake, one of UK’s top literary agent said in closing…

“There are as many exceptions as there are with rules.”

I walked out of today’s conference feeling revived and more determined to keep writing, to keep showing up everyday. So help me God!

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