I am busy this week getting ready for Word Café, Raglan’s first ever writers’ and readers’ festival. It is happening this weekend (10 and 11 May) and there is going to be an amazing line-up of writers.
I have been helping to organise the event, and am also presenting a workshop and reading some of my stories. I’m really looking forward to it, but am also a bit nervous. Like a lot of writers, although I love words, I am more comfortable writing them, than speaking them!
Still, getting out and promoting yourself seems to be part of a writer’s job description these days. And I do find that going along to writing festivals, workshops, readings and other bookish events is really good for my own writing.
Hearing other writers talk is very inspirational and gives you a real creativity boost. I always find that my mind is humming with ideas for new stories and ways to improve my old ones after I’ve listened to someone else talking about their work.
There is an American writer, Julia Cameron, who writes books for artists and writers about how to access and boost your creativity. One of her ideas is that you have to pamper your inner-writer (the place where your ideas comes from), so that it remains happy and creative. You have to give it treats and take it for days out to fun places: like writer’s festivals.
I like this idea, especially as the treats can involve fancy stationery (which I love) and chocolate (no comment needed).
I also think it’s important to go along to writing workshops and events, if you can, so you can improve the craft side of your writing. Part of writing is inspiration, but a much larger part is craft (learning how to make and structure a story, the best words to use, how and when etc).
You can learn this, just like any other skill. One way is practice. The other is by seeking out and learning all there is to know, so that when you sit down to write your story, your writing toolbox is full.
This weekend, I am going to be working alongside and listening to some very inspirational children’s writers at Word Café; I’ll tell you a bit more about them next week. After that, the next writing event I’m going to is the Golden Yarns: Children’s Writers and Readers Hui 2013, which is happening down with you, in Christchurch, at the beginning of June. I can’t wait! I wonder when I’ll find time to write?
Talk soon. Sarah