Just back from an unbelievably sodden dog walk. Loved it. It’s good to be reminded that weather doesn’t only exist in photos of sunsets on twitter. On my way I saw a writer friend out for a run. Lots of other runners too, and I found myself imagining that they were ALL writers, and that they were all out running trying to think through their plotting and characterisation. And then I imagined that all the walkers were agents and then I got bored with that entirely fruitless and absurd line of daydreaming.
A few people have asked about the Writers Dog Walk on Thursday. I checked the weather beforehand and predicted a rainbow*. It showed up, as did six people who had nothing in common really, except that, unlike the runners, they were all writers, and were able to get to South London fairly easily (though one had got up at 5 to be there). And is this telling? – they were all women. Would love to hear people’s thoughts about that… Anyway, they were all at different stages of their writing careers, and were looking for different things. We talked about how to get an agent, we talked about how to decide what to write, we talked about dogs, we talked about editing, we talked about publishers, we talked about poetry. We talked about getting in out of the sudden rain and we talked about cappuccinos. We talked about doing it again.
I can’t pretend I wasn’t a little nervous when I left the house. Not because I imagined the park would be full of loony writer stalkers dropping manuscripts on me from the trees, but because I thought that perhaps people joining would have very high expectations. It was actually a very low-key relaxed affair, and I think we all felt pretty comfortable nattering as we walked. And whilst I could perhaps give people the odd pointer about how to submit to agents and so on, I think what we all took away was that it is good to share some of what’s going on.
A couple of days before I’d been to see one of ‘my’ authors and several others read at a brilliant event in Camberwell run by Richard Skinner of Faber Academy fame (https://www.facebook.com/vanguardreadings), so much to talk about, so many people to meet – so very much to drink. And then on Thursday there was a colossal turn out for the First Story debate about whether you can be a writer if you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, which was fantastic (even if the audience seemed at a glance to be fairly silver bespooned).
Writing is a solitary job, but it really doesn’t need to be a lonely one.
Next walk is February 27th, same place, Brockwell Lido car park 8.30. Maybe see you there? (I’m saying snow).
*Thanks Sarah Baker for the photo