In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.
I have a confession to make. I sit and talk to people who don’t exist.
And no, I don’t have a mental problem (probably.)
I’m a writer.
If you’re one too then you probably do the same, because often the characters in our books are the closest thing to a social interaction that we get in our daily work lives!
Which is why my number one Christmas tip for other writers, if you haven’t already, is to join a local writing group. I’ve just come from Exeter SCBWI’S annual Christmas meet-up. (A good excuse for a bunch of book-obsessed people to eat, drink and talk writing without watching multiple eyes glazing over.)
And it got me thinking. Christmas is about being able to enjoy the festivities with people that you care about, to relax, to have fun, but also to look back on the year you’ve had, whether it be a good or a bad one, and decide what you can do to make the next year even better.
(Here’s where I talk about new year’s resolutions!) Making the decision to get involved with my local writing group was mine four years ago, and it’s the best thing I could have done for my writing. We meet every month, sometimes more, for word-count competitions and general chit-chat. We vent to each other when we hit a brick wall in our novels, we celebrate each other’s successes, and we help one another prepare manuscripts for submission. Through this group, I’ve met countless other writers who are just as enthused about books and writing as I am, and I’ve also become a member of two critique groups. The support I’ve received from these has been absolutely invaluable. Writing, whether published or unpublished, can be an emotional rollercoaster, and it helps to have friends that truly understand the process, to accompany you on your journey. Not only this, but being part of a critique group has seriously improved my writing and editing skills. The saying, ‘you can’t see the wood through the trees’ has never been more true, as often I can see that there’s something not working in my novel, but I can’t pinpoint what it is. Usually, it’s something so simple, that a critique partner will spot it immediately.
So if you’re not already a member of a writing group, make this your new year’s resolution for 2014. I promise you won’t regret it.