I went to London for the weekend and I had a busy but brilliant time.
Friday I met up with a good friend of mine who moved to London a couple of years ago. We went over to the Tower of London to see the poppies. I wanted to see them again and she hadn’t seen them. It was strange because in so many places there were more than there were when Mum and I went in September but they were very definitely taking them down and there were gazebos and boxes and people in places doing that. It was also completely and utterly rammed with people looking at them. Nice to see them again but definitely a shame that they literally put the last ones down and started pulling them down the next day.
We mooched around a bit as well and went to a couple of other places but mostly it was just a lot of fun and to get he chance to see her and catch up properly because every other time I’ve seen her in the last six or so months it’s been in a big group and not a lot of time to really chat just us.
Saturday was the real reason why I went to London. I went to a Creative Writing Masterclass put on by Books and the City (a part of Simon and Schuster). And I was very very very nervous before I got there but I’m extremely glad that I went.
I had a blast, all of the talks were useful (plus the panelists were good at presenting which really helps) and I got a ton of freebies – I think I counted 12 books when I got back to my hotel. Plus, we had Prosecco to wind the day down.
I loved hearing Milly Johnson talk about writing and her path to where she is now. It was encouraging to hear that all the struggling and difficulties of writing and the publishing process are worth it. She was funny and engaging whilst being very honest and telling us what we needed to know. I enjoyed speaking to her during the drinks afterwards too. Quite a few of the free books I picked up are hers and she signed one for me. It’s pretty fair to say I’ve going to be reading very little but her books over the next few weeks. And if the books I’ve read by her previously are anything to go by it’s going to be very enjoyable.
Lizzy Kremer’s talk about the role of an agent was also eye opening as I didn’t realise they did quite so much. As a part of her talk she mentioned a couple of books coming out next year that she worked with the authors of and I quickly scribbled down the titles because she’s clearly very passionate them and they sound incredible. I’ve since seen that one of them is already on NetGalley so I’ve put in a request for a review copy.
The biggest things that came out of all the talks for me were
- At some point during the writing process you’re going to hate your work and this is normal and happens to everyone. Keep going.
- That the process is more involved than I had thought and people’s jobs involve more than I would have expected.
- It’s important to have a team of people that are passionate about your writing during the publication process because it makes a huge difference.
- Networking with other writers is key and social media (particularly Twitter) was mentioned several times as a big part by various people
I also had a one to one session with the editorial director about my writing. I’d submitted it in advance and that was the bit that I was most nervous about. I’m not sure why I was so nervous (now) because she was very friendly and easy to talk to. Plus she was positive about my writing and the idea behind my novel. And although I have a lot of work to do on my novel following the feedback the biggest negative thing she said (about my setting not working) was something I’d already been thinking myself and had mentioned to a couple of people. So it crystallised my thinking if you will and made me think I need to have more confidence in myself and my writing.
I’m really glad I went and I enjoyed meeting all the other writers there. I feel much more energised about writing now and am looking forward to getting back to my novel.