Last week I went to the NAWG Writing Festival at Nottingham University. I'd never been before. I'd thought of going, but never got round to it. Something or other stopped me. There was always an excuse. One of the reasons was that I sometimes find crowds a little daunting. I'm okay if I know a lot of people in the crowd but if I don't it can become a little uncomfortable for me. I don't know why, as strangers are only friends we haven't yet met - well, I like to think so anyway, being a glass half full kind of person.
But, this time, I made the effort. How could I possibly know whether I'd enjoy a festival of this type if I have never experienced one before? It's a question to ask yourself about your writing and if you're feeling overwhelmed or daunted by it. How do you know what you are going to write is going to be dreadful if you've never written it before? Think positive, as Simon Whaley is always telling me!
I was lucky in that I got a lift down with Simon - he was one of the tutors - so I had a friendly face in that crowd. I also had met Lynne Hackles before and had seen Alison Chisholm's face and writing in the pages of Writing Magazine. I had read many of Linda Lewis's short stories in the women's magazines and her columns in the writing magazines. I had had email conversations with Morgen Bailey about an article I was writing - so I did, when I actually thought about it 'know' a few people there. And it was great to meet other writers and discover we all have similar worries about our writing and go through similar things (rejection being the biggie).
The point I'm trying to make is that because I pushed my reservations aside and attended the festival I met a lot of new people who all share the same passion - writing. I've picked up so much valuable advice on writing that I don't know which bit to use first and I now have new friends who were once strangers - it pays to be positive!
My point today is to get out there and go to these events. Try new ones if you can. NAWG was my taster - next year it's Caerleon Writers' Holiday in Wales. I'm booked and deposit paid. I have the brochure stuck to my writing room wall and every time I glance at it, it reminds me to be brave and take a chance.
NAWG and writing events like it push you. They lift you out of that rut and spur you on to deliver the best writing you can. And it's not just through the excellent teaching. It's the networking and talking to other writers in the same boat as you. You are not alone. We all get rejections and we all need that kick up the backside sometimes.
I hope to meet some of you at a writing event soon!