Saturday, 16 April 2011

Books Still Exist and 'Bigging-Up' Writing Courses


Books still exist. I went to London Book Fair and there were books – and guess what – there were publisher stands – so I can’t see the publishing business becoming extinct just yet.

I went to a seminar about up and coming illustrators. This area has always fascinated me – I have actually have written two picture books but they are in that ‘bottom of the drawer’ and will never see the light of day – One of the panellists was saying now her illustration degree didn’t prepare for the picture books. I could relate to this with my writing degree. You can have a writing degree – but once you’re out in the real world, still writing, you realise that you need to set your own deadlines, there are more things to learn all the time. A writing apprenticeship doesn’t end once you have the certificate saying you have taken a writing course. I have learnt, about flash fiction, writing for the Internet, social networking, blogging, public performance, submission process, finishing a novel, and rejections. Nobody tells you that to be a writer you need motivation by the lorry-load, determination by the trainload and discipline by the boatload.

A few winners of the new illustrators prize gave ‘big-ups’ to art education. Which, with the rising costs of course fees, writing courses need to be ‘bigged-up’ too. Doing a writing degree allows you time to explore the rules (so you can break them), peer reviews, advice from established writers, time to write, deadlines, friends, guidance, hardening of creativity skin against the rejections.

I don’t think people come out of writing courses, all writing the same. I found on my writing course that we were specifically told to find our own style, tone and voice. We may of all have the same assignment but every piece of writing was different.

I didn’t come from a high-income family. In fact I had to delay my entrance to university to have a gap year and work, work, work just to pay for the accommodation. I had to even work 25 hours each week during term time (good for writing inspiration) just to feed my stationery habit. If you want to do something, then don’t let money stop you. It might delay you but don’t let it stop you from achieving
I might have a huge student loan (thanks to high inflation) but it comes out of my wages and doesn’t bother me. I would not have learnt about properly structuring a short story, of the principles of novel writing, or met like-minded people. I would not have this blog either or published pieces. 

3 comments:

James Hughes said...

A great post from Jessica, who again hits the nail on the head, with her astute comment "To be a writer you need motivation by the lorry-load." I completely concur.

Sophie Playle said...

My thoughts exactly!

Jessica said...

Thanks James and Sophie for popping over :)

Jessica