Sunday, 20 March 2011
Last weekend I attended the annual Scottish Association of Writers conference. I'm a postal member of Erskine Writers so it's always nice to meet up in person with the group at the conference. Our group did very well - getting about 12 mentions in competitions and I'm pleased to group myself in amongst those mentions as I won the T.C Farries Trophy for the first part of my new young adult novel. This win means so much to me because I've been excited about this book right from the minute the idea started to unfold in my mind and it's so great to know that someone else sees some potential in it. I am now frantically trying to get it finished so that I can start sending it out. The photo above shows all of the first prize winners of the weekend (I'm the second person in the front row). I felt like I was at a press conference when this photo was getting taken as I kid you not there must have been about 20 cameras flashing in our faces!
The weekend came at just the right time for me as I was badly needing an escape into a world away from my day job and some time out just to completely switch off that part of my life and focus on writing, writing, writing. I was very touched by the encouragement and support from not only my own writing group (especially my Mum who I am lucky enough to have as a writing buddy in the same group) but other groups and I know that I will have a lot of people on my case if I don't get this novel finished!
Jane Wenham-Jones was one of the key speakers at the weekend. She was hilarious and also spoke a lot of important key truths. I attended her workshop and she made us shout out things which we feel stop us writing. A lot of valid reasons popped up - work commitments (that was mine), family commitments and so on. She gave validation to these points but basically told us that what really stops us writing is fear and lack of confidence. And I have to agree. I am nearly 20,000 words into my novel and am having flashes of doubt at every new chapter. Is it interesting enough? Are my characters engaging enough? Where the hell am I going with this...and so on...but I've not lost that excitement I had with the first page and that is keeping my faith alive in what I am writing.
It was lovely to win the T.C Farries; it's fantastic when someone tells you that you write well, that they love your idea, but what we all really need as writers is total belief in ourselves and our writing - this is what is going to get you through those last 60,000 words (or 100,000, depending what type of novel you're writing) And I am already thinking ahead here...that faith is what is going to allow you stand up in front of people and sell your stuff!!