This weekend I attended the Winchester Writer’s Festival with a couple friends from my Creative Writing class.
I only took up writing when I moved to America, and then it was just a dabble, dipping in my toes to while away a few lonely hours. I began to blog because it seemed a better way of telling everyone back home what I’d been up to without having to send out repetitive e-mails or round-robin newsletters (urgh – my pet hate), and it also saved spending a fortune in therapy. America was driving me mad. Psychologists and psychiatrists always tell you to keep a diary and write your feelings down, so I did. I realised I liked doing it, and people told me they liked reading it too.
So, buoyed by new literary skills I thought, why not write a novel, or rather, sat at my computer one morning staring out the window of our apartment at the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains a story just sort of popped into my head. For the first time ever I had the time, I had the idea, so why not? Then it just grew – not just grew but mushroomed. I was confined to the apartment for two weeks following dental work and before I knew it I’d written about 30,000 words.
Two years later that same story is now 80,000 words long. I’ve attended Creative Writing classes, I’ve learned about metaphors and alliterations, I’ve cut characters, added characters, thickened the plot, deleted scenes…and finally felt brave enough to show my first chapter to a couple of literary minded friends.
A few more tweeks later and it seemed like a now or never time. As my creative writing teacher keeps telling me, there’s no point writing stuff and then leaving it sat in the drawer. Who is going to see it there? So I took it to the Writer’s Festival, where as part of your conference fee you can show your work to real live publishing people.
I’m not saying I’ve sold my novel, I’m not saying anyone is actually going to publish it, I’m just saying I got really good, encouraging feedback. The sort of feedback that made me want to rush home and do somersaults on the lawn, hug the husband and high-five the teenager. It felt that good.
A picture of two sleeping cats in Italy which has absolutely nothing to do with the above post but I thought I'd put it in because I like it anyway.