A *big* week (with a catch)

So here’s the deal. It’s been an awesome week. Not in the story-writing sense, but awesome nevertheless. Let me explain.

This week was… London Book Fair! 🙌🏽 Oh my gosh was it exciting. Of course, as a writer and story-lover, and also as someone trying to get into the publishing world; I’ve actually been writing about this over on my new boy meets pub blog – check it out. (Yep, another blog, I’m crazy). I mentioned both my publishing job search and London Book Fair, last week.

Even though I’ve paced myself this week, giving myself some time to recover, recharge and exercise, it’s been a pretty full-on three days with a lot to take in. The bookish community is a lovely one (I keep using that word this week, I feel so British), and it’s been nice to meet some folks IRL as well as the amazing ones I’ve ‘met’ online so far.

On the first day of the Book Fair, I somehow managed to do some writing mid-late pm, sat in a coffee shop trying to recover before dinner with my friends that evening. What I’ve realised is that when I’m exhausting from socialising and such, I also feel creatively depleted. It wasn’t used. But I’m glad I put pen to paper and got some words out.

Whilst I’m focusing on the job search, I’m trying to be kind to myself; even if I’ve written just a teeny, tiny amount (like this week), I’m moving forward.

Besides, there’s a fair chunk to go of the first draft, and then I know there’s a heavy first edit to follow that. But it’s all good. Us authors (well, wannabe-authors, but f*ck it, I wanna call myself an author!) are human. Which means it’s good for us to go out and meet other like-minded souls and writers, like I was able to do this week.

Here are some highlights (get the full scoop over here):

– The ‘Society of Young Publishers’ held 2 really useful events at the Book Fair, and I also became a member last week which includes lots of useful stuff, including discounted tickets to their social events
– I met some lovely (that word again) folks on Wednesday evening, which apparently is always ‘the busiest day’ of the three.
– I realised there are hundreds more publishers than I’d heard of – possibly 1000s!
– The worlds of traditional publishing and self-publishing are, apparently, worlds apart (perhaps obvious, but these two really don’t get along)
– There are lots of parts within publishing, some of which I don’t know an awful lot about and are worth exploring – e.g. Rights

We’re all human at the end of the day – and though getting that foot-in-the-door can often come down to networking (plus a bit of luck) – folks there were generally really nice, honest and supportive. I got some amazing advice, through the panel and conversations with others I’d met, about getting into publishing. I met some interesting people and made some useful ‘contacts’ – but, most of all, I met the sort of people I’d probably end up being friends with – which is really reassuring, and feels important to me.

I liked the whole energy of the London Book Fair, and though I don’t know where I’ll start or end up in publishing, I’m excited about this new chapter of mine. I’m hoping I can build on the excitement and momentum of the Book Fair, and be proactive the rest of this week and next with applications/emails, and hopefully things will happen.

Of course, working in publishing is different from being an author. And I’ve had to keep reminding myself that I ought to be getting into the industry for the right reasons (i.e. not just because I like books and writing – I have to actually enjoy what I’m doing day-today).

I won’t lie, with the ‘product’ in the publishing world being books, this is a big appeal – especially if it’s the sort of books I care a lot about! What also appeals is the fact that there’s an awful lot to learn (I love learning new things, I get bored if I’m not), the people are really cool and interesting and passionate aka my kinda crowd, and as cliched/vague as it sounds, something just feels right.  Hopefully this is an industry I can enjoy, learn in and grow in – both professional and as a person.

And perhaps, somewhere along the way, it may inspire me to push on with my own writing, and see my own creation(s!) come into fruition, and be shared with the world. One can only hope.

As long as I keep moving forward, enjoy the journey, and remember to be kind to myself and not so self-critical, that’ll be good enough for me.

✏ Written: Thursday, 5th April

A.B. Guy | articles | newsletter 💌

What about you? 🤷🏽‍♂️
What was the last book fair, author meet-up, or otherwise literary event that you went to? Share away – I *so* want to go along to more of these types of events now! 💙

Writing small.

I always wrote quite small as a kid. I thought it made my writing look neater. This week, I’ve embraced “writing small”, in a slightly different way.

After the not-so-good last week, I decided to keep it simple. I’ve written about 9 A5 pages this week, doing about 10-15mins of writing. It’s a new tactic of mine, the whole “make it a ridiculously easy task to do so you can’t not get started” thing. Especially whilst I’ve had a few things on my plate (and in my head) recently, this has worked.

I can write in larger chunks and force myself to write, but it feels quite nice having written just a tiny piece the last couple of days. I have also realised that this short story is already a novella, and may well be on it’s way to a novel. And it is also going to require a heavy-edit it feels like, and some re-writing. So, I’ve tried to hold back from just trying to rush and get it down, and chill out a little bit more. Whilst, initially, I was writing whole scenes all in one go, this week I’ve been writing the same scene in little pieces. It’s actually been kinda fun to come to it each day and write a little bit more, continuing where I left off rather than try to muster up the willpower to start afresh on a whole new big scene.

writing small
credit: marlene_charlotte

To review or not to review
I’ve been thinking about a lot this week (surprise, surprise), including whether I should write book or film reviews for the purposes of helping with my indie-marketing in the future. I even wrote my first review (for the film ‘All Good Things’ and associated HBO documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst; a true story, and recommended whether you’re a #truecrime fan or not), and thought about doing a review a week. Hmm, I thought. So that means I’m running 2 blogs, posting 3 ‘proper posts’ a week in total (across both), a poem a week, and now a review a week? Just so it helps me build my following/engagement and sell my potential literature in the future?

For now, I’ve decided against this. I mean, as I write/type this (doing both at the same time this week – typing straight onto computer, rather than copying up pen-to-paper piece), I still didn’t feel like I’d entirely decided this. But putting it down in ink (well, computer ink) makes it more of assertion. You see, I have this habit of getting excited and starting lots of things, and then getting overwhelmed, not finishing them, and feeling really sh*tty afterwards.

For me, I really need to prioritise, and go slow and steady. I need to reign myself in. When I have more things I’m working on, I get overwhelmed by everything on my plate, and then I just end up stagnant and not doing anything. Not good. Not good at all. I’ve decided I’d much rather continue to connect with other bloggers, authors, and all-round human beings more naturally like I have been doing, and over time. (I’m not saying being a reviewer to add to your following is unnatural, it just feels that way for me as that would be my primary motivation!). Other projects

With all the ideas that keep popping into my head, I’ve decided I’m going to write them all down and be selective – hopefully ruthlessly so, for my own good. The trouble with me is I always seem to question “whether I’m doing the right thing” i.e. “what I’m meant to be doing”, and hence I’m tempted to experiment and try different stuff to spread my risk with the view to seeing what sticks and makes me a successful artist person. I know this sounds really stupid though, and is putting a ton of expectation on my shoulders. So, again, I’m trying to prioritise and just chill the f*ck out.

My job search – publishing
I’ve looked at a couple more bookshops this week, and going along to London Book Fair next week, where I hope to gain some tips about getting into publishers, and hopefully meet some folks in the industry and others who, like me, might be trying to get in. It’ll also be a chance for me to, hopefully, find out more about the industry itself (there are lots of different areas within publishing), and get closer to securing work experience to experience first-hand what it’s really like. I’m trying not to get too carried away, but hopefully the stars will align and good things will happen.

PS. I also need to visit a library and start on some fiction! I have two which are pretty close to me, so I have zero excuses.

Where I’m currently at
Week 1: 21 pages (A5)
Week 2: 27.5 page
Week 3: 21 pages
Week 4: 0 pages
Week 5: 9 pages

~17k words written

✏ Written: Thursday, 5th April

A.B. Guy | articles | newsletter 💌

What about you? 🤷🏽‍♂️
Do you write in big chunks, or bit-by-bit? I’d love to hear how your week’s going, too 💙