Well, I had a nice day and it’s been a while. I was extremely nervous about leaving my daughter on her birthday, but we did have a small party yesterday squeezed into her hectic A Level revision timetable. And we have booked a restaurant for after the exam. So… I headed off to Pompey with my friend who offered to drive and we were both shocked to see that the parking in the city has jumped up from a fiver to £12 for the day. Reeling from the shock, we head to the Eldon business for the Star and Crescent Press and Social Media Masterclassfor Writers.
The first session was from Tom Sykes; he is a university staff member, co-founder of the Star and Crescent and a journalist. I certainly picked up some great tips on pitching non-fiction ideas. The information on getting an angle was incredibly useful. I did a brainstorm during the session, and I have already made a list of places I want to pitch. If I were asked what I took away from Tom, I would say it was the emphasis of not rushing and polishing a pitch.
After lunch, it was Sarah Cheverton, a lovely lady with so much energy despite health problems that she just leaves me in awe! We had a fun look at successful writers Facebook and Twitter pages. I NEED to change mine, urgently. Sarah stressed the importance of enjoying what you do, and I realised that is something I need to make it a priority. The afternoon session left me with a pretty extensive to-do list, but I’m eager to get on and do it!
Today, gave me a real injection of passion, which is much needed, maybe it was just the fact that the room was filled with so many positive and upbeat characters.
I’ve popped the links to the Star and Crescent and also Portsmouth Writing Hub below, both sites are a hive of information and support to writers.
It’s been an exciting week on the writing front, requests for full MS, one of my short stories appearing in The News, and lots of support for The Writers at Lovedean writing competition. However, as delighted as I am with the input of good news, I am aware that I couldn’t have done it alone.
Since Tessa Ditner took over running Portsmouth Writing Hub, there has been a flurry of opportunities for creatives. If you suggest something to Tessa, she does her best to make your idea a reality; I believe a member made a comment about collaborating with The News, and now hub member’s stories are in print. All writers understand the thrill of seeing your words in front of an audience, but there is always behind the scenes hard graft to any printed piece of work. Portsmouth Writing Hub is a fantastic resource for artists, but you get what you put into the group. Although there is support for book launches and writers angst, it is mainly a home for positivity, a spot where creatives can discuss plans for creating art and liaising with others to make something new and awesome. You only have to look at the projects that are supported by the hub to see that, Darkfest, Day of the Dead, Dark Cities, and the Edward King Cityscape Project. These aren’t the activities of naval gazing writers lamenting how hard it is to get published; it is an energetic and vibrant mix of creatives wanting to push the boundaries of their work. My advice, don’t sit on the sidelines jump in and see where the opportunities take you!
I was delighted that Solent TV invited two members of The Writers at Lovedean into their studio to discuss our first charity short story competition. Long-time member Lynne Stone and relatively new member Jackie Green bravely stepped in front of the cameras. These two ladies are examples of what real creatives can do; they are delightful members of the group with such an inspiring ‘what can we do to help’ attitude. I know they were both terrified at the prospect of appearing live on TV, but they did a fantastic job.
On Thursday morning I got up at 6 am and jumped into the car and headed for the sunny South Coast Emporium, to be interviewed by the Southsea Lifestyle Radio programme. It was a last minute booking and incredibly exciting.
The host James Kirby invited me back for Saturday’s show! I got to have some great laughs with the team and enjoyed the company of fellow guest Canon Peter Leonard. We talked about the Portsmouth Food Cycle team, the A Level results and how much I miss chips and gravy!
The truth is that strange and unexpected opportunities present themselves if you are willing to jump in and help community projects. I’m a member of the Portsmouth Writing Hub. If you are a writer in the Pompey area, you need to get yourself down to these meetings. It’s a chance to mix with other writers, find out about the events and opportunities in the city. Best of all you can join in with the fun.
Through the hub meetings, I met local author Will Sutton; which resulted in me getting involved in the ‘Day of the Dead’ and ‘Valentine Massacre’ spoken word events. When the Southsea Lifestyle Radio team were looking for guests, Will put my name forward. I never expected to be involved in other community projects when I volunteered to read at a spoken word event. Saying yes, getting out of your comfort zone and mixing with people who share your passions is a brilliant way of attracting more opportunities.
Writers are known for working alone, but that is one aspect of writing. There are other things to consider, editing, submitting, and meeting and working with other creative people.
So I would recommend saying yes once in a while. You never know where it may lead. Today a radio interview, tomorrow the upcoming DarkFest.
Thanks to Will Sutton, Kevin Dean of Southsea Lifestyle, John Pryde, Colin on the machine and South Coast Emporium.