Just recently I've been travelling up to London for several author events; the Curtis Brown Day at Foyles, the annual S.C.B.W.I agent party, a meeting with my critique group and a Childrens Book Circle meet and critique evening.
Sitting on the tube at ten o clock last night I found myself asking why I found these events so useful, wouldn't I be better off spending my time writing instead? Well, maybe not. One reason for going is of course to meet other writers, to spend time with people who understand the struggles and joy of trying to get published and to feel a sense of support. Another great reason to spend time at these events is to learn about the industry, to get to know agents and editors and find out what they're looking for.
But more importantly for me is that I find that attending these events helps me with one of the magic ingredients needed by all authors...Motivation.
For example, at the agent party I spoke to several lovely agents who asked me to send in my manuscript, this pushes me to polish my work to perfection and get it out there on submission.
Another magic ingredient was provided at the Meet and Critique session where I talked to an editor about my work in progress and that was - Inspiration. Having a professional viewpoint was so enlightening and sparked off so many ideas I feel completely inspired to incorporate all the ideas we discussed and I now feel confident that my revision will be going in the right direction.
So that's two ingredients - Inspiration and Motivation, each of them very important but perhaps the biggest factor for me is - Perspiration. Yes, the actual hard slog of sitting down and typing, day after day and week after week. Keeping going when you want to give up. The wrestling with ideas and problems until your brain literally hurts. Working for months and months on revision. Coping with feedback and critiques and rejections.
But let's face is, that part is much easier if you have inspiration and motivation in the first place!
So what's my final ingredient? After Inspiration, Motivation and Perspiration?
This can't of course be found at events or crit groups. It is a random and uncontrollable factor within writing, publishing and life itself. However while I can't control my own luck I do believe I can increase my chance of getting lucky. How?
By getting critiques from professionals so I can make my work as good as possible.
By meeting agents and finding out what they want so I can make sure I send my work to the right person.
By making personal contacts in the business I may improve the odds of getting my work read.
So, yes, staying at home and writing is important but so is getting out there, finding support, making friends, learning about the industry, getting critiques and attempting to improve your chances. It all helps with the magic recipe and one day I hope to produce a perfectly mixed, light and fluffy, enormously satisfying...book!
Happy baking to you all.