Monday, August 21, 2006
Happy New Year
On the bright side I noticed a slight rise in my average number of hits to my main website today (not this blog). Maybe nothing to get excited about, but when I looked at the stats more carefully, a large proportion of them came from Internet Cafe chains. Could visitors to Edinburgh who have seen my adverts be checking me out?
I've booked up for some events at the Edinburgh Book Festival this week. Tomorrow I'll be at two events; Meet the Author with Manda Scott and then a Crime Writing discussion with writers Mark Billingham, John Harvey and Declan Hughes.
On Wednesday morning I'll be at the Wake up with Words session about Scottish Fiction with writers Alan Bissett, Nick Brooks and Michael Cannon (free coffee and pastries included - yeehaah!). Then immediately after that I'll be listening to Andrew Motion, the UK Poet Laureate, talking about his life and new auto-biography.
On Friday evening I've booked into a session with writers Colette Bryce, Linda Cracknell, Chris Dolan and Debbie Taylor, to hear them discuss the challenges of giving up the day job to become a full-time writer.
Then on Saturday lunchtime I'll be attending a talk by French thinker and philosopher, Roger-Pol Droit, about the philosophy of everyday objects and how they come to have meaning to us. I'm hoping this will give me new ideas and slants I can apply to my fiction.
There is one further event on Wednesday that tickled my fancy: Performance Poetry Workshop with Anita Govan.
Here's the blurb: "This practical, fun and dynamic workshop will demonstrate how to write and conceptualise a performance poem, taking it off the page and into performance. Be prepared to let go all you know, and bring examples of your own work. (Maximum 20 places). Sponsored by the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society."
I hovered over the keyboard for a while about this one. When I booked the other events I thought about this one too. But I left it and let it fester in my mind for the afternoon. This whole standing up and "performing" my poems scares the living bejeezus out of me. I will make no qualms that I am unsure if I have the bottle for it (without a bottle already in me), but when I saw the listing, I thought, "well, maybe I should just go for it. I won't be the only one there shitting myself."
But then I talked myself out of it every time. "I'm not good enough," and "I'll be out of my depth," and "what the hell am I doing?" All that kind of typical self-doubt that always comes into play when someone wants to see my book or talk about my work.
But I fancy it. I really do. Out of all the events this one stood out as a real unmissable for me. All the other fiction workshops are sold out and I want to get to at least one to meet other writers if nothing else.
Then I remembered something that a writing pal said to me last year when I was shitting it over the Ian Rankin meeting. "It's good for you to push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and then. It'll move you into a new level."
So I clicked the order icon and paid for a place at the perormance poetry workshop. I'm nervous already.
The speed at which everything is happening right now is quite frightening. I'm not getting much done in the way of writing, but as always seems to happen in August, it's only because I am totally consumed with the Fringe and Book Festivals.
This year is the first year I've really made the Book Festival Count. Rightly so. I don't get to meet other writers much during the rest of the year and with this on my doorstep it would be criminal to let it pass without taking advantage.
As for the Fringe, well I've made it count too. Not by going tolots of shows but by networking with other people who are involved. For example, I got an email from Tania Rocha today (the performer who I wrote Love At First Sight about). We are going to meet up later in the week.
August is always so inspirational. It is a return to base and a return from the page to the wider world. If writing were a religion, then August is surely the new year for us writers, especially in Scotland. You get to recharge and reassess everything and you become bombarded with hope and drive and determination to succeed.
Soon it will be September and autumn, my favourite time of year when my writing seems to always become richer. Then it will be NaNoWriMo, and I fancy I will be in a great frame of mind to tackle it.