Sunday, 14 June 2015

Diary of a Writer's Week

It’s been a week of many parts. At times it felt like having all the ingredients to make a cake but not being sure what the outcome would be.

Saturday: Strictly speaking this was the previous week but as we went out to celebrate my daughter’s birthday I couldn’t resist an excuse for posting this photo.

Sunday: I wrote 800 ish words of my work in progress and then went to Dulwich College (magnificent place) to a concert celebrating music as experienced by different faiths. The Old Library was filled to capacity. I believe it only holds approximately a hundred people but there wasn’t a spare seat to be had. I mention this here because (a) it was an amazing experience and (b) my husband wrote a piece for a local publication which we edited together – my writing input. 

Monday: I have a writer friend who has a publisher interested in her manuscript. It’s her first book and to date social networking hasn’t been her priority – she’s been writing a book, dammit! However, as writers no longer live in ivory towers and self-promotion has become a part of the whole ‘deal’, it was imperative that my friend got herself onto Twitter and Facebook, where she had a page but not a presence. We spent four solid hours with just one cup of coffee each. So intent were we on what we were doing, I didn’t even think to offer her another (we were at my house, not hers). I apologise for my bad manners here and now, I don’t think I did at the time, but we were both exhausted by the time we stopped. That said, she embraced it fully and is now actively using social media.

Tuesday: This was the day I went to Rye Harbour where a member of my Tuesday writing group has a static caravan. There are three of us and we spent a lovely day on the nature reserve (saw an avocet – a real treat) and did no writing whatsoever, but sometimes one uses these things at a later date so guilt was not involved here. Well, maybe just a little.

Wednesday: Had my hair done which took up much of the morning. A very interesting evening though at The Write Place Creative Writing School where, in the light of my Monday friend’s experience, tutor Elaine Everest chose social media and how to use it as her topic for the evening. Several of us are quite active in this respect but others have little or no history and while some of us are published others are not. When their time comes it will be much easier if they are already established on Facebook and Twitter. Otherwise it can be a very steep learning curve at a time when all they might want to concentrate on is getting their book published.

With Lisa Eveleigh last month
at the RNA Summer Party
Thursday: A splendid day. The weather was glorious, the best day so far this year, and I met my
agent, Lisa Eveleigh, at the Royal Academy for lunch. I’ve lived in London all my life and never cease to marvel at its beauty. In the past I’ve travelled abroad and admired architecture, ancient and modern, with gaping jaw and a hot camera. It’s so easy though to take one’s home town for granted. Thankfully I’m not guilty of this. As I walked along Piccadilly, watching tourists and indigenous population alike, where the pavements were crowded but not uncomfortably so and there was a smile on every face, or so it seemed, I felt real joy. Resisting the temptation to walk into Burlington Arcade – I didn’t want to be late – I met Lisa and we had what I can only describe as a lovely chinwag. We did talk about writing, which was the only writerly thing I did that day, and when I went home I sat in the garden with a book. Hey, that’s writerly too isn’t it? Good. Exonerated.

Friday: I am writing this piece. It is my intention to take the weekend off.

Initially I was going to entitle this ‘My Non-Writing Week’ but as it turns out there’s no such thing for me, nor I imagine for most writers. It’s been an interesting exercise though. I don’t usually keep a diary and this has made me realise that even on those weeks when I think I haven’t written there’s a lot that goes on that doesn’t get noticed. Of course I’ve spent some time on Twitter and Facebook, ‘meeting up’ with friends, oh, and playing a few online games of Scrabble. But even that involved words. 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Natalie Kleinman in Recovery Mode

I’m still in recovery mode. Last week’s Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Summer Party was even more special than I could have anticipated and I hope it will remain in my memory forever.

Though it was the subject of this blog last week, in particular with reference to the Joan Hessayon Award, I cannot continue without mentioning it again as it was only the beginning of yet another amazing week. And I’m posting a picture of the group of finalists again…because I like it and because I can.

Joan Hessayon Award Finalists

So what followed this amazing event?

Firstly, my missive to Writers’ Forum, written prior to the party, appeared as the lead letter on the Writers’ Circle page. And for anyone who’s read it, no, I didn’t spill wine down the front of my dress. Cue another picture (left).

On Wednesday of this week I picked up a copy of The People’s Friend containing my short story, Secrets in the Attic. It’s almost a year since this story was sold and notification of the publication date in an email a couple of weeks ago took me by surprise because, frankly, I had forgotten about it. It was the last short story I sold (or submitted) as I had by then moved full time to writing novels. It raised a question though. The thrill of buying a magazine with one of my stories in it hasn’t diminished. To know that it will be giving pleasure, even in the short time it takes to read, is actually quite humbling. So here’s another picture.

Will I go back to them? Unlikely. I am completely committed to writing novels and, much as I enjoyed my previous work, I cannot do justice to both. With the end of the week approaching I, and approximately 250 other delegates, received the pack for the RNA Conference which will take place in London in July. A huge amount of work goes into preparing for the Conference and, without diminishing the work that others do, all credit must be given to Jan Jones for the organisation that goes on before the envelopes drop on our doorsteps. 

I have begun to study the contents and will do so many more times before attending what to me is the most valuable writing event in the calendar. There's a lot to take in. In case you don't believe me, here's another picture.

Food and wine are also involved. I look forward to seeing some of you there.