Having said in my last blog what a joy it is to feel part of a global writing community, I must say that there is still no substitute for meeting other writers face-to-face as I did this weekend at the Festival of Writing*, York.
Writing festivals give a wonderful platform for established and new writers to come together and share experiences. As well as discovering new techniques in the craft of writing and gaining insights into the world of publishing, it enables writers to discuss their work with professionals and receive sound, constructive feedback.
However, in her opening address, author Jojo Moyes warned that receiving criticism, no matter how constructive, is never easy. She likened it to telling a mother her new-born is ugly! Jojo’s had ten novels published but has written thirteen and admitted her first three attempts simply weren’t up to scratch. She said that, while on holiday, her grandmother bumped into none other than Baroness P D James who wisely fed back: ‘Nothing is wasted’. Meanwhile, in the conference closing address, crime writer Stuart Macbride also admitted writing five novels before finally reaching a publishable standard and that now he feels grateful these early attempts never made it into print. Everyone can take comfort from these writers’ admissions – if nothing else, they show how persistence and determination to succeed can pay.
A satisfying personal moment was bumping into someone who’d attended a ten-week creative writing course I used to run and who was now there seeking feedback on her first novel.
I’ve come away absolutely bursting with enthusiasm and lots of new ideas!
*To learn more about the York Festival of Writing you can follow @festivalwriting on Twitter (#FoW12), or visit the website: http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/events.html