Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Fishing at the Book Fair

Go to the Book Fair, they said, found out about the market, they said, get a feel for what's out there, they said. Well, Books is what's out there. Piles and piles of them, none of which were being read by the hoards of people swimming around them, in tight shoals, making deals, shaking hands and then fencing themselves off after hours to drink on it. Great for reinforcing that small fish, big pond thing.

It was bewildering but saved for us fledgling writers by the mostly great seminars that took place on the periphery. The over-riding message I took home with me on the train this evening: "write the book that's inside you - stuff the market." It's good to be savvy, but if you try simply to fill a gap you'll be filling it with poor quality filler that won't weather the storm. Not sure I'm entirely confident that whatever brand of filler I eventually mix up, it won't crack at the first editorial hurdle.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Back from Narnia

Back to London for a week. Feel like we have all been to Narnia and had this great adventure but when we come back nothing has changed. Such a cliche but it is like we have never been away - I imagined people would be stopping me in the street asking me to share insightful gems on life outside the city and gush about what a great time I have been having for the past almost two years. Not a bit of it - nodding acquaintances of old are still nodding as if they saw me only last week. Obviously it is different with friends, but arrogantly I wanted my dramatic change of life to mean something to everyone!

How easily we have all slipped back into leafy south east London; we even had a Chinese takeaway! If that sounds lame you clearly don't know the scene in Truro. I've been given copy-writing work since arriving back and asked to come in for a meeting - I'm wondering if I should remind them that I have actually left to make a shiny new life in the south west. Best not, good work can only happen if you live and breath London; one couldn't possibly write something topical and incisive amongst all those pasties.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Blogging? Blog off!

Blogging. Still not sure I am convinced of the merits - I email my friends and talk to them. That really is as much as they would like to know about my life, and as much as I would like to share. Blogging seems self indulgent, arrogant and weird. Who reads this really - anyone who doesn't know about me? Of course not, not unless they have stumbled on this by mistake. A publisher? I don't think so.

It's good writing practice, say the MA tutors, like playing the piano. Hmm..I write every day - I copy-write for a living, I try to write radio scripts (badly it seems at the moment) and more pages of my novel (hopefully less badly), I email friends and I am trying to get to grips with a website for me and my fellow students. I write all the time - if you don't believe me ask my children:
"Mummy? Will you...can you...please can I...?"
Stock answer: "Just a minute, Mummy's busy, writing..."

"Can I do some writing on your computer? Will you help me write a story about pirates?"
"No, go away." I used to be a nice Mummy.

I also used to go running beside creeks, taking our bonkers dog, loving the fresh air and beauty of it all. Now I sit and try to imagine and then write about other people doing exciting things with their lives while I scoff the kids sweets, drink too much tea and coffee and get lardy, pasty and irritable in the process. Blogging? I'm too busy writing.