On Thursday, I finally mustered up the confidence (and guts) to attend a local writers’ group. I have been intending to do so for most of the year but had always found an excuse. As my regular readers will know, it took me a while to gather up the courage to finally send short stories to competitions and risk the prospect of rejection or ridicule.
I have taken that hurdle in my stride now but that just involved posting (or emailing) my work off to faceless people who would not comment back if I did not make the grade anyway. This was relatively safe compared to personally fronting up to a group of strangers, and if accepted, to actually read my work out, opening myself up to the risk of direct and immediate of rejection and ridicule.
With my husband, as moral support, I fronted up at the meeting room and opened the door. Unfortunately the first words uttered were “sorry, you are not on our list. We have a waiting list. Did you ring?” I almost lost it then and there. I was crushed. (The website did not mention waiting lists, nor having to ring to book – though I had tried to ring for info and no one was home- and welcomed new members) I felt like an small bug being crushed underfoot. I wanted to slink off and return to my comfy little hovel and remain a hermit for the rest of my life.
Luckily, my saviour sat in their midst. “Visitors! let them in!” With a (I am sure obviously) weak smile, I (and my bodyguard) entered and hid down to the opposite end of the table. Here I found friendly, encouraging fellow writers. It was the day to read short stories inspired by the month’s set themes. Most were good with one poem being quite entertaining (and not just because it was in a speculative genre!).
I met three or four quite lovely women and there was even an unexpected famililar face! By the completion of the meeting, I had been invited to other groups (one unfortunately too far away) and there is a possibility of starting up a speculative fiction writers’ group in the area.
There is a great deal to be said for first impressions. Luckily, first impressions are not always a true measure of things. Thank you to those lovely people who made me feel welcome. Without you I would have not even entertained the idea of returning to the group – or any other writers’ group.
On Wednesday night, I attended my very first Writing Race, hosted by the Australian Writers’ Marketplace Online (of which I am a member). This is a one-hour, self directed writing session where goals are stated at the beginning of the session. This was the first time I had managed to join a session, though I have been planning to for some time.
My plan for the night was to get a start on a new short story The Feline Factor. I have 2000 words to finish this one… I think! Nope, it was 1500-3000 words. Bonus! I had done a little research on superstitions about felines and on differing cultures views on them, which has been bubbling away in the background for almost a week now. For the night, I was hoping to get a rough plan of the plot and possibly some paragraphs down.
An hour later, I managed over five hundred words ( after editing about 75 along the way), one fact checking and three gratuitous uses of the thesaurus! A new character decided to walk out of the fog by the second paragraph (inconsiderate!) and the feline remained a little shy for three paragraphs longer than I had originally envisaged. But I am now armed with a partial map of the Thames dockside and a duffel bag smelling of fish.
All in all, it was a useful exercise as I have to get that elusive opening scene out of my head before the rest will flow. I am planning on attending next week’s race as well. Good habits, an’ all that.
We all live to deadlines. Things at work that must be finished. Projects that need completion. Appointments that must be attended on time. In my case, there are also stories that must be posted, artwork commissions that must be posted and blogs that must be written. The challenge is to prioritize each item in its true order of importance and not get side tracked on those things that can be postponed.
Today, I have an appointment that must be attended. There is no option there. I have painting that ideally should be finished this morning if it is to make the post in time for a looming deadline. I also have another emergency appointment that must be attended later today (there was only one time available). This is essential for my health and pain relief or I will not be able to complete my projects for other deadlines.
So dear reader, please forgive me for a late blog post today. I do like to get it out as early as I am able for those readers in my timezone to get it on the same ‘day’ as those in the northern hemisphere.
Today, I managed to finish off some gold detailing on the background of some gauche miniatures. When they are finally dry, they will be packaged up for the weekend.
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