Winchester writer’s festival

The Winchester Writer’s Festival is quickly approaching –and as a warm up for the conference, the organizers are giving a taster weekend workshop at the end of this month (March). Last year I had been highly stoked to attend the writing festival. Firstly, they had one-on-one discussions with agents and publishers, so it was a chance to see whether my ideas were sale-worthy, and also show off my work directly. Secondly, Sir Terry Pratchett was going to be speaking, and since he’s an incredible story teller/writer/talent, I was PSYCHED at the opportunity. And of course thirdly, it’s always inspiring to surround yourself with those who are equally (if not more so) as excited about writing.

That was last July. Unfortunately, I had to divert from the event and have a mastectomy. Less fun, but still important. Honestly, the surgery finished two or three days before the conference and there was no way me and my messed up chest could make it to any conference. Noooo way.

This year, Zsolt and I are going to Hungary. And ain’t nothing gonna stop us getting out vacation on. Besides, to remain in a country (with rent, bills, tax, etc) an entire extra month just for a conference is madness – therefore I’ll be missing the event again.

Oh well.

So last week I pop onto the Winchester Writer Festival website, just in case they decided to switch it from July to May. Nope. But there is a ‘taster’ weekend being offered toward the end of March. Looking up the speakers for the weekend, they are creative writing teachers (the writer’s main income of choice? Apart from actually writing, I mean). What’s on offer? Essentially it’s a weekend of revision, editing, and lessons on marking. But here is the thing . . . and this is why I haven’t yet book a place, and am not sure I will . . . I’ve already gone to school for creative writing. I don’t want any more lessons on how to construct a narrative, or a character, or a plot, ETC. –and yes! It feels pompous of me to write all that down, but it’s true. Not to say I’ve mastered all forms of literay device, however my interest is not in ‘how to construct a novel’, but rather ‘ how to get people noticing your work’.

The website advertises marketing as part of the experience. And editing. Editing is a beautiful thing – often in short supply for blog posting, but very useful when writing creatively – and I certainly would benefit from learning more in that area.

Oh, back and forth and to and fro. Not sure what to do. All I know is that attending workshops is a healthy practice, like brushing teeth – keeps things in shape, keeps habits productive, and maybe it’ll help push so that I finally finish the story that began last year, before diagnosis. THAT would mean so much to me.  It’s an important (to me) piece of writing and really deserves to be completed. Honestly I had wanted to complete it even before the writer’s festival last year but didn’t meet that goal, so maybe it’s finally time to try again (this time skipping any surprise cancer diagnosis).

Workshops: good practise, but can I be sure this workshop offers what I need? After all, £160 is a lotta groceries *and even more cups of tea at Tragos. Something to think over . . . we’ll see.

Quick Afterthought: Do writers make for the best teachers? I guess there’s a theory that experience is the best education, so why not use those who have all the experience to educate? Us of the never-been-published cling to a ‘real’ (published) writer’s every word, just hoping that somehow, someway the association will get our work miraculously noticed.  “Here, boys and girls, is how you get an agent to accept your manuscript.” Well, it’s certainly a starting point.


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2 thoughts on “Winchester writer’s festival

  1. Been meaning to send this info to you for a while and now it’s March break for my small fry there is a moment to sit (kids shows on and teen asleep). Don’t know if I every told you that my mother is a professional storyteller. Her back ground is in teaching, later got Masters in Reading specialty and started doing a bit of telling on the side unfolded into something cool work in Montreal libraries doing a special programme for parents & young children and told to all ages outside that gig..including coming to Ottawa for the fall Storytelling festival (November each year). The other group which may be of interest to you is Masc http://www.masconline.ca/11/Home_English.html
    Ottawa Story tellers is ottawastorytellers.ca
    Last fall they had some great stuff held on St. Patricks in the Market at the St. Brigids church which is now being used as an arts centre.
    Perhaps when you are on this side of the pond you’ll connect with them…they are guild type groups who understand that you ARE a writer and give you a place to share and let youu gifts develop not red ink them to someone elses liking.
    Sending you love this day

    -Sandie

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