Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Green Eyed Monster

A couple of my writing friends are off on residential creative writing courses at the moment. One is in Wales teaching a couple of workshops and the other is in Yorkshire, and by the sounds of it they're having a fantastic time and I so wish I was at one too! I have thought about going to one before, and to a few literary festivals - but we all know what thought did don't we?! In my case, absolutely nothing!

Has anyone ever been on similar course or to literary festivals in the past? How did you find them? Did they help you with your writing? I should imagine that they are good places for networking and meeting other writers. As writing can be such a solitary and sometimes isolating occupation meeting other writers in the flesh must be very grounding and motivating.

It's why I attend a writers' group once a month. It give my poor husband a break from my constant ramblings about writing and gives me the chance to converse with other people who share my passion for writing. And we have a lot of fun too! I also like meeting with my writing buddies for a coffee every now and then to talk about life - and, of course, writing! It calms my 'what am I doing?' nerves when the writing isn't going well and it's nice to swap tips on writing. It makes me realise that I am part of a bigger writing family and that it's not just me, on my own, struggling to get published. I can feel the support of my 'family' even when they're not there.

I also love going on forums and blogging as it keeps me in touch with other writers and I have gained such good advice from doing so. You know what it's like some days; you get up and stare at a blank screen or page and you just can't get started. Without fail, I always feel better after reading a few blogs and commenting on them and emailing other writers, and I'm soon writing again.

I have made a promise to myself that I will make more of an effort to attend some literary festivals next year and maybe do a residential course.I have attended some small literary events this year: Poetry writing day at Attingham Park, the Writers' Bash and in October there's an OU creative writing workshop, a talk by Carol Ann Duffy, and the two workshops on article writing and short story writing as part of the Wellington Literary festival. In November it's the writers' retreat with my writing group and a writing poetry for publication worshop, so I'm not doing too badly!

I think it does us and our writing good to get out there amongst other writers - we might actually learn something useful or know something we can tell others to help them. So next year have a trawl through the various literary events available and book yourself on them. It may be the best thing you'll ever do for you and your writing.

Julie xx


Pinkerbell said...

Hi Julie, I wonder where in Yorkshire your friend has gone? I went on a course run by the Arvon foundation at the house Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath owned in Heptonstall, near Hebden Bridge. This was when I was still at school. I returned to the area years later to live as it was so beautiful. I found the course was wonderful, although I've forgotten a lot. I met Carol Anne Duffy a few weeks ago and she was lovely, you'll like her!

I swing between wanting to meet and mix with writers and poets and being scared of it. I suppose it's fear of feeling inadequate. If you can hack it or can feed off it then it's definitely beneficial.

Olivia Ryan said...

I've never been on a course either Julie, or to a festival. And I've also never belonged to a writers' group. But I have got a lovely writing penfriend in Yorkshire, Dawn, who has supported me (as I have her, hopefully!) through thick and thin, since we met as prizewinners for a short story competition about 15 years ago! And you're right - it's great reading other writers' blogs and forums, but sooner or later you need to talk to people in the flesh as well. I was fortunate to be advised by my then-editor,some years ago, to join the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association). 'The parties are great!' she told me! Well I've actually only been to a couple as I can't really afford them - but on their forum I have got 'chatting' to lots of other writers, and have now made friends with some members who live in Essex like me, and we meet for lunch occasionally, which is great. They're a very supportive bunch - like your writers'group - we do need to talk to other writers about writing, nobody else really understands!

Julie P said...

Yes, that's what worries me, Pinkerbell - going to these writing events and feeling inadequate! There always seems to be some writers who are over confident or who seem to be sneering at anyone else doesn't there?!

I'm not sure exactly where in Yorkshire she is but I'm looking forward to her coming back so she can tell me all about it.

You're right, Olivia you do have to go out and meet real people occassionally! I don't think I would be so productive if it wasn't for my writers' group and writing friends - or indeed from the support from the blogging community. I can now see my followers again by the way;they just reappeared sometime yesterday! Very odd - not my followers! The fact theat they went missing and have now returned!

Julie xx

Nicola said...


I'm back!! I'm exhilarated and exhausted and I'll email you tomorrow to tell you all about it.

Yes, in answer to Pinkerbell, I was at the Arvon house at Lumb Bank. A 'writing for teenagers' course with Malorie Blackman and Melvin Burgess. Absolutely brilliant!!

Nicola xx