Writing can be a lonely business. Even though writers may be retiring by nature and are usually happy to hide themselves away in their writing cave, the day comes when they long to step outside, sniff the fresh air and find someone to talk to – preferably another writer. No one else, not even best friends, seem to understand the difficulties a writer faces and are prepared to spend their time untangling plot problems or discovering why some characters refuse to do as they’re told.
I’ve been writing now for seventeen years. At the beginning it was just for fun; I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read in the library (these were the days before Amazon and Kindles) and thought I’d write a contemporary mystery story for my own enjoyment. The process of writing was fascinating and led me into all kinds research. My mind was buzzing with my characters, who quickly began to seem so real that I was having conversations with them. Yes, I know, authors can be very peculiar! Before long I was obsessed by my new hobby and began to write short stories and then another novel. And another.
I began to long to talk about this with someone who would understand and so I joined a writing group, Slough Writers http://www.sloughwriters.org.uk/ Every Monday evening, when we met in the skittle alley behind a pub, I was in heaven. I won some of the short story competitions and no one minded when I rabbited on about what I was writing. In fact, the other members read my work and encouraged me to look for an agent.
And this is where it gets interesting. It took me eleven years and seven novels before I found an agent to represent me. If I was starting again today, I’d approach it differently.
Thinking about this last year, I realised that I now have the knowledge and information to help new writers to improve their skills and shortcut the process of finding an agent. The difficulty is that, like other authors producing a book a year, it’s not simply a matter of meeting the deadline but also of promoting your books, giving talks and forging a presence on social media.
Time is always short so I decided to find a partner with overlapping skills so that, together, we would have a greater knowledge base to pass on. I am delighted to say I have found that partner in Danielle Auld. Danielle is a writer but also the Director of a thriving copywriting business and a wiz with social media.
Danielle and I teamed up together to form Creative Writing Escapes. Our aim is to provide friendly and supportive advice in full day or half day workshops to a maximum of eight Escapees at my cottage in the woods. There will be a home-cooked lunch, tea and coffee on tap and CAKE!
Next year we intend to expand our offer with luxury weekend writing escapes where Escapees will be able to put on their slippers and relax in comfortable surroundings away from the clamour of domesticity and everyday life. There will be the opportunity to chat with other writers over a glass of wine, to participate in discussions and workshops, or simply to find a quiet corner and write in peace.
I am the award-winning author of five traditionally published novels and two novellas. A sixth novel will be published in May 2017 and the seventh is half written. My dream is not only to continue to write my novels but to help new and intermediate writers achieve their writing dreams.
Do take a look at the Creative Writing Escapes website to see what we can offer.