I’ve had a great few weeks, illnesses aside.
But there have been two stand out things that have changed/shaped/terrified me.
1. Attending the Winchester Writer’s Festival
I was petrified. I drove the 3 hours (passed Stonehenge, which is always fun! Side note: there’s a cute little piggy farm that can be seen just before the ancient boulders) and arrived without much of a clue. Finally finding my room, I loitered around as others arrived and lurked until I could hear someone in my hallway (I know, I’m a creeper). Also, Winchester Uni Students have LOVELY accommodation!
There was a great workshop on the Friday with poet Rhian Edwards and it helped to reaffirm how much poetry means to me, and also that I shouldn’t ignore it as part of my writing repertoire.
Saturday saw a day of talks- some were incredibly useful. Others, a bit repetitive, or more general common sense type advice.
Over both days I had 4 one-to-one appointments with editors and agents etc. Having already sent my work, they were prepped. But heck, I’m not sure I was! There was some great responses, and some not so great (and yeah, I may have hid in the bathroom for a little cry after one such meeting) but there was a resounding ‘who are you writing for?’
This statement alone has plagued me. I mean, I haven’t been just writing willy-nilly. I had a ‘genre’ and arough audience in mind, but still it kept coming back that I wasn’t communicating that very well.
I generally write literary fiction. But I do have a habit of pulling/borrowing things from genre fiction.
It’s led me to seriously rethink my approach to writing. And that can only have positive results, even though it feels like taking ten steps back rather than leaping forward.
On a massive plus side, I made some great friends at Winchester. Shout out to Sarah and Stacey! And Dale.. who may have shunned us soon after being picked up by an agent, but we will still buy his book when it’s on the shelf 😛
2. I applied for a place on an MA course
I had a serious case of post-degree depression. I was distraught for it all to be finished… I love school! But more than that, I was becoming more and more frustrated by the rejection letters- for all manner of things, jobs included. So I thought what harm can come from applying to do my Masters?
The interview was tougher than I thought it was going to be. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but to their credit, Falmouth were rigorous, energetic and engaging, all the while grilling me about every aspect of my life almost! Ha!
Never before has an acceptance letter felt so earned. I’m in!
I won’t deny it. It’s scary. The phrase ‘hit the ground running’ keeps cropping up and I have a feeling that I’ll be running from September through June without so much as a water break!
Again, it can only have a positive outcome. I want to learn. I want to work on my skills. I want to write!
It’s not going to be easy- both completing the Masters (while still working as close to full time as possible) and trying to change my writing approach without compromising on style or substance.
How’s everyone else doing?