Yesterday I popped along to Diana Bretherick and William Sutton book launch at Blackwell's in Portsmouth. It was filled with people, wine was flowing, deviled eggs and prunes wrapped in bacon (interesting) floated on large serving platters.
I wasn't feeling my best. In fact earlier in the day I had been wrapped in a blanket with an atrocious panic attack plus I'm gearing up to phone the doctor about a nagging problem that I've had since December which is clearly not responding to my treatment of ignoring it - it will go away.
But Diana and Will are 20 x 20 writer pals. They have both hit the gold publishing star, and if that doesn't deserve a slap on the back - what does? So I picked up Helen Larham, poet and member of The Writers at Lovedean and off we went. Hyper aware of the fact that when I'm depressed and stressed in a social situation I can be loud and play the joker I walked into the nightmare situation of a crowd. I carefully remember all my CBT training and the result was I had a great time.
I finally had an opportunity to thank Dom Kippin in person. Bumped into Zella Compton (also looking like a Mum in the school hols - tired and stressed), caught up with Annie Kirby - YME project and found out there maybe another author event in September. All hard working authors who I greatly admire.
Having a coffee in Mac Donald's on the way home I was discussing the new writing landscape. I was having the after shakes from a social event and knew I was in for a bad night. But our discussion did make me think.
In a lot of ways I am happier when it's just me and my imagination. I find the writing process, and making up stories an extension of the escapism I used as a child. It would be nice to quietly sit back and hope that one day I would be discovered. Wrap myself in my bubble - it's warm, comfortable and familiar.
However, the writing landscape has changed. Traditional publishing routes of just writing a manuscript, sending it of and then expecting the publisher to sell your work isn't a realist option anymore.
This is a time for writers, to come above ground, they need to adapt new ideas and search for opportunities. It is about sixteen months since I did a social media course and grabbed two friends, bought them coffee and demanded to know how to use twitter. The tears I cried trying to work out how to make a Writers at Lovedean Facebook page and a Writers at Lovedean closed group for informal chat. I am too much of a lady to describe the learning curve of creating my blog. I still don't know how to put more than one picture at a time on Facebook. I'm currently trying to work out google plus and pin interest. Every time you think you are getting somewhere you press update and it all changes. Learning about using tags has been on my to do list for nine weeks. It is difficult, frustrating and time consuming. I do most of my social media 'work' at 6:30 in the morning before I walk the dog so it's over and done with.
Technology is annoying and difficult but, I have found out about so many opportunities because of it. I've lost count of the number of things I have applied for through the Portsmouth Writing Hub Facebook page. I've made many friends online. I've learnt about new opportunities and writing techniques. At the end of the day, whether it is twitter or the Internet it is just a new skill. And new skills can be learnt with determination, practice and most importantly 'eHow.'
So, it is time dear writers, to come out, come out where ever you are and learn about the new world. Because no one can do it for you.
Five free social media courses: