“Expect the flu whenever you finish writing anything big.”

At the recent Society of Authors North meeting, we listened to Simon Brett tell us about the activity of Trying To Write. This was interspersed with gems about how a writer can look around the house and pinpoint which work paid for which bit of furniture, and the things you buy when you should have saved for the tax man. Then there was the warning that you will always get the flu whenever you finish something big, and we all nodded in unison. Simon reflected on making the transition from having writing as a hobby to making it your career. When you move your hobby to the centre of your life, this immediately creates a “job vacancy” for interests outside of work, and it’s important that you have other interests that balance your professional life as a writer. This made me think about what I do outside of “writing” that could be classed as an interest or hobby. Does procrastination count? How about doing some half-hearted yoga whilst watching TV? Or staring at the garden willing fairies to come down and mow it? I’m really struggling to identify some part of my routine that doesn’t involve writing or reading. Can you relate to this?

In the afternoon, we listened to Julia Franklin reading extracts from the Books Are Loud portfolio and, for me, this was the best part of the day. It takes real talent to bring text to life using just your voice, and if you’re a fan of the audio book format, then you’ll know what I mean. Anyway, Julia and her colleagues are expanding their portfolio, so if you want your work read by pros, have a look at their website.

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