Today is the day after the Writer’s Workshop’s Festival of Writing 2012. And oh my days was it not the best thing to be part of?
I abandoned festival-virginity in March 2011, by attending my first. I was shy and in awe of writers that attended. When I left, I promised that I’d put more effort in and ensured that I kept in touch with many that welcomed me.
Well… When the FoW12 tickets when on sale … I was there like an avalanche equipped with afterburners. Got the ticket, booked my agent 1-2-1s, and started counting down the days until the event. Why the excitement? Because it’d been 18 months since the last one, though it did pass quickly.
Upon reaching the venue in York, my adrenaline pumped. Minutes remained before I’d once again be mixing with old friends. Seconds remained before I’d be meeting new friends. And nano-seconds remained before I’d melt under the hot sun. Believe me… moving the a Festival from cold March to bright September was the correct move.
There’s nothing better than hugging so many that I either met at York last year, know from the Word Cloud, or have been meddling with in secret… Oh yes… I am referring to the greatest unit of pleasurable and word worthy writers known as the Nomads. (I am one).
Last year, I attended workshops in areas that concerned my writing such as Fantasy, Editing, Voice, etc. This year, I sat in others such as Pacing, Self Publishing, and Writing for Children. No matter how many books, forums, posts that I’ve read, there’s always room for improvement. The 1-2-1s that I had with fantastic literary agents didn’t produce a multi-billionaire deal, or the alleged auction many thought that I would command… But they did all give me comments to help tighten my work. Pacing is my main issue and having a 13 year old who talks more mature than he should be.
I will improve on that.
However, let’s get one thing clear. The FoW isn’t just about being around some of the best, mixing with talent, or rubbing shoulders with gorgeous women. No – the Festival was about meeting real people who share the same concerns about their writing, who understand the dedication required, who work tirelessly in search of the perfect novel and those that understand that we have to step back and be honest. (Rubbing shoulders with gorgeous women did still happen -phew).
Another thing that is a must – have fun!
Being in York for the second time gave me a license to have more fun, and I did. I wasn’t afraid to be helpful or to point others to where they needed to go. I dared to approach agents and say hi. I happily vandalised my name badge. I felt like I belonged. At the Saturday Night Gala, 4 members of the Nomads, including me, dressed in 1950s style Chicago Gangsters and Dolls. Sure, we got looks, but did we care? Nay – we dared to make an entrance, and we did.
When reality at work sometimes mocks the writer, then to be in a location where others are in the same boat… you know that boat isn’t sinking. If there’s one thing I want … It is to be with those people again.
I thank the agents, the publishers, the editors, the writers, the organisers, the 1-2-1 facilitators, and the speakers who all made one young-looking man with a dashing smile, smile bigger.
I don’t dream… I’m on a mission.