Exciting Times Ahead
Shortly before I finished the MA, my husband asked me what I was planning to do with my qualification. I hadn't given it much thought up to that point, but it got me thinking. What were my plans for the future? I mean, obviously, becoming a best-selling author was up there on my list of ideals, but realistically, what did I want to happen? Much as I'd love to sell loads of books and swan around the country on book tours, it's fairly unlikely that will happen. However, it's safe to say that I wanted to do something practical with the writing and try to earn a little bit of money out of it.
I had a think and decided that what I'd really like, getting an agent and having my books published aside, is to actually work with other people and enable them to get their own stories written down and hopefully published, so that meant writing workshops. I'd like to become a writer in residence somewhere and use it as a base from which to pass on the knowledge and experience I've gained over the last few years.
Usually, in order to qualify for one of these opportunities, you need to have published work, so I'm working on that - I've got the book doing the rounds with agents at the moment and have progressed from being ignored to getting rejection letters (apparently this is progress!) - but I didn't expect to get much further with my other plans until that part of it had happened.
However, one of the things I've had drilled into me by people who know about these things is that much of a writer's success is about grasping opportunities when they come your way. Therefore, when I heard of a new education centre being set up in a local historical building, I got in touch with them to ask if they would be at all interested in having me run some creative writing workshops for them, initially with children, but then potentially expanding to adults as well. I didn't expect to hear anything back, other than a polite, 'thank you for your inquiry, but no thanks' so it was a huge shock to get an almost immediate response asking me to call them to discuss it the following week. That phone call led to the promise of another to discuss it further once their plans had progressed and so I'm hopeful that we might be able to get something in place in the near future. Of course - the anxiety and self-doubt that plagues almost every writer I know, has now kicked in big time and I'm having a major session of 'Oh my God, why on earth did I suggest this? What was I thinking? I haven't taught (other than home schooling) in a long time and what do I know about writing? Aaaaggh! Help!' Of course, nothing may come of it, but if it does, then deep down I know I can do this, of course I can! But it's still a bit scary that part of my Writing Wishlist (WW) might be about to come true.
The other part of of my WW that is also on its way to being fulfilled is the bit about helping other people to get their work published. I have no ambition to go into the publishing business, but I know how hard it is to get your voice heard as a new author and so when one of my fellow MA students suggested setting up and running our own literary e-magazine, I jumped at the chance to be involved. We've had lots of emails pinging backwards and forwards between the group of us who are going to be editing it, with ideas and worries bouncing across the internet, but it's actually happening! We opened the email for submissions today and have our first official editorial meeting booked for Monday. The website is up and running, we have our first few stories and poems already and I'm seriously excited to see what the next few weeks bring in terms of reading the work people submit. Our first edition will be out in the spring and we're looking for submissions on the theme of 'Coming Unravelled'. If you'd like to know more, the website is www.makarelle.com and just click on the Submissions tab to see the T&Cs. After a fairly miserable start to the year, it's looking like 2021 might finally be getting going. Bring on the spring!