I snapped up a ticket for Writing East Midland’s 2016 conference as soon as they went on sale last year. A whole day hanging out with writers; Mike Gayle and Sophie Hannah as keynote speakers; and the entrance fee included cake – who could say no?
There’s something very special about being in a room full of lovers of the written word. Everyone standing shoulder-to-shoulder, whether published, self-published, striving to find an agent or writing as a hobby, everyone is equal, happy, genuinely excited to be there.
The event last Saturday was a rather different experience for me than others I’ve attended in the past. With a book deal already in place I didn’t feel the urge to frantically scribble in my notebook all day in case I missed a golden nugget of opportunity, but there’s always something to learn, and these are the things I took away this time.
- Every writer feels like a fraud and expects to ‘be found out’ at any time.
- Be happy with your choice – whether publishing with a large or small publisher, or self-publishing, having a novel out there is a great achievement. Put all thoughts of ‘could I have done better,’ away and celebrate the fact you’ve written a book.
- Finish that first draft. Don’t give up if you feel it’s getting too messy. That’s what rewriting is for. Take a break. Question why you started writing this book and if the idea still excites you push forwards.
- Social media – don’t try to do everything if you don’t have enough time. Better to stick to just one platform and do it well.
- Use index cards for notes and characters.
- Find your authentic voice. Whether you’re writing as a 14-year-old boy, or a 70- year-old man, you’ll instinctively know when something feels right. Trust your gut.
- ALL writers live in fear of never having another idea.
- Your best book is your next book.