Saturday, 16 March 2013

The benefit of writing events

Two weeks ago I went to the Writers' Workshop Getting Published event at Regent's College in London, and came back buzzing. I've been so busy since then, both with writing and the rest of life, that I've hardly had time to breathe, let alone blog! Now things have calmed a little, I thought I'd share my thoughts on why it's so important to go to writing events.

  • Meeting other writers. This writing lark can be an incredibly lonely one, and it's great to meet others who are in the same position as yourself. You can discuss ideas, share submission woes and swap editing tips, as well as having someone to prop up the bar with at the end of the night.
  • Advice. I've yet to go to a writing workshop or keynote address that I haven't gained something from, even if it was a lesson in what not to do. This particular event really got me thinking about a number of different aspects of my novel, and the plot is tighter now as a result. Events are especially wonderful if you get one-to-one advice included as part of your ticket.
  • Networking. As long as you go about it the right way, writing events are a great place to meet agents, editors and published writers. Just don't leap out in front of them when they're on their way to give a talk, or pass them notes under the toilet door. Common sense, really.
  • Inspiration. There's something about being in a room full of people who are all full of interesting stories that I find incredibly inspiring. We're all working away in our time, doing our best to get our stories out there, all committed to making them the best they can possibly be.
At the start of this year I made a resolution to spend time with other writers as often as work and finances would allow, and I'm already seeing the benefits. Don't spend all your time locked away in your writing cave - come out every so often, smile and shake hands, have a normal conversation with someone in the publishing business. It'll be great, I promise.

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