About a year ago, it hit me. I'd just completed a novel writing course and suddenly I was on my own - no weekly writing tasks, no sharing of ideas with other writers in the group, just me and the computer. I'd started to send off the odd short story and I continued to write my novel but I knew if I was going to make any progress on my writing journey, it was most definitely up to me. It could be quite a lonely life or so I thought.
So, what has changed to make me think I am now part of the writing community? I still shut myself away and write at my computer alone. I don't attend any writing classes at the moment either. Here are some of the ways that I feel supported as a writer:
- Meeting regularly with writing buddies A group of us who met in the short story course, 'Telling Tales', meets every three weeks. We share our stories and set writing tasks for our next meeting. I also meet with writing friends in Newport.
- Alfie Dog Fiction Having the first of my stories published on the short story download site was a milestone for me. Not only is Rosemary, the editor, very supportive with constructive advice about the writing submitted but you feel you are part of a world wide community of writers. There is an Alfie Dog forum where you can communicate with other authors on a whole range of topics.
- On-line critique group As I mentioned in a previous post, I am fortunate to be a member of an on-line critique group. Last July, on the Alfie Dog forum, I spotted a post from a writer called Patsy Collins who was asking if anyone was interested in an on-line critique group looking at stories aimed at the Womag market. Our web-site started by another member, Susan Jones - of 'Giggle Blog' fame ;-) - may be found here at Write-critical. Susan also manages Write a Novel, another critique group which is run along similar lines.
- Twitter Having a Twitter account (@JanBayLit) and following other writers is something I would definitely recommend. I have learned so much from articles, recommended books, forthcoming programmes or events in tweets by fellow writers. I like to be proactive and am grateful to my growing band of followers for their support. One writer I follow, Sandra, (@tonisands) got in touch to invite me to a lunch time meeting with the local RNA members. Here we are having lunch at the Barocco in Cardiff this week. Thank you everyone for making me so welcome!
- Writing Blog As you know, I started this in January and like to post regularly on the same day each week. Yes, it takes time and maybe takes time away from writing my stories or novel but I like the fact I am mapping out my journey as a writer. I also benefit from following other writers' blogs. The list alongside is growing ever longer. Often it's reassuring to know those writers experience the same highs and lows that I do and the ones who don't have many 'lows' are my inspiration!
- Writer page on Face Book Last weekend, I started a new page Jan Baynham Writer. I'd love it if you 'liked' the page after reading some of the posts. Thanks!
So you see that in the last twelve months, I have enjoyed so much support from real writing friends and the on-line community that perhaps it's not such a lonely journey after all. A big thank you to you all! :-)
I'd love to hear what you think about your life as a writer. Do you always write alone? Do you like to share your work or do you keep everything to yourself until the story or novel is finished?
Why not submit a short story for this exciting competition? Click on the link above for full details.
- 1st Prize: £200 plus publication of your short story collection, from which you'll earn royalties, plus 5 printed copies.