Happy New Year! Yes I know I'm a few weeks late but with all the other New Year posts flying about I thought I'd just surprise everyone by being different and fashionably late! Which, as my friends and family will attest to, being late for anything is something I just don't do. Actually, I'm anally retentive when it comes to good time keeping. I'm never late for anything! You didn't see that one coming did you?!
Like everyone else I have made some resolutions for 2017 that I probably won't keep. So far the no bread / booze January has almost brought me to my knees! I do my best writing when my brain is lubricated by a nice glass or three of wine. And, who doesn't survive on mountains of toast when sitting up to the wee small hours writing because a story just won't let your brain rest?
So far, 2017 has been ok. I know we are only a few weeks in but I have to say that its been pretty fab for me. My lovely late friend Les Moriarty who I still miss dreadfully, had been nagging me for as long as I can remember to join the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers' Scheme. I did try a couple of times but never managed to make the deadline in time as all the places each year fill up very quickly. Its an amazingly popular scheme which so many writer friends have found invaluable. Each year I was so disappointed but in a way a little relieved that I hadn't secured a place because I didn't and probably still don't think my writing is good enough. But, when Les passed away it suddenly became very important to me that I at least give it another chance. If not for myself, but for Les who found the scheme to be amazingly supportive in his writing journey. So, on the 2nd January, the day applications opened, I got up nice and early and drafted my email and sat watching the clock until 10am when I could press SEND! I never expected to get a place. But, to my absolute delight I did!!! Thank you Les for always pushing me forward with my writing. Your nagging paid off dear friend.
Now, with the delight of gaining a place on the scheme, came the absolute abject terror that I was going to have to share this novel with someone else! Oh dear god! I can't even drink away my fear due to this bloody booze free resolution or eat my body weight in hot buttery toast! Help!!!!!!!!!!
I suppose everyone who signs up for the scheme feels exactly the same way. I still don't feel my writing is nearly good enough to be in the same company of the other wonderful writers who are members of the Romantic Novelists Association. I feel like a bit of a fraud. A pretend writer! An imposter! And now people will find out I can't write! Cue manic panic attack, putting my head between my knees and blowing into a brown paper bag!
I've been assured that all writers feel this fear and that while it never passes but does lessen a bit so that's something I suppose. The only people I have ever shared my work with are members of my writers group and they are all far too polite to tell me something is rubbish. Yes they offer constructive criticism which is so useful but thankfully nobody has advised me to take up another hobby like stamp collecting! Not yet anyway! Despite my anxiety, I am so grateful for the opportunities that the New Writers Scheme will provide me. Guidance with my writing and support which I really need. And, the support and friendship of other writers too. If I let myself, I am also a little bit excited about the whole thing too. That soon passes and I want to go and lie in a darkened room somewhere puffing into my brown paper bag!
To help me feel more like a writer and actually get some work done, I have booked myself into a 2 day writing retreat in a lovely house by the sea. That's 2 wonderful days and nights of writing. All by myself. Well there will be other writers there but imagine the freedom of no family or work responsibilities. Just writing! How amazing. Watch this space and have a brown paper bag ready for my next panic attack!