Since moving to Perth I have, more or less, acted as a stay at home Dad. This is partly because my wife got a job first and so I took up the task of settling our family in to life in our new country. A couple of months ago she suggested that it was about time I got out of the house a bit and found something to do, other than applying for jobs and tidying the house. So I started searching for the kind of things that I thought I might like to do, now I had a completely fresh slate to start from.
One of the first websites I found was one called “Meetup”, it is a place where people can set up groups and invite others to come along and attend meetings. I checked out musical meetups, atheist and skeptic societies, readers clubs and writers groups. A lot of the meetings were either not quite my thing or else in the wrong place for me to attend, but then I discovered one which wasn’t too far away and was for writers who just wanted to discuss writing. It seemed perfect!
I went to my first one last month and met up with an interesting bunch of people. It was a little like stepping into Bernard Black’s shop from Black Books, as they were all drinking red wine and making slightly cryptic but amusing jokes, or making derogatory comments about each other. However once the meeting had started properly and a few more people had arrived it seemed a bit less surreal and I felt a little less out of place.
The meeting went well and I felt very welcome, even getting to tell them a bit about my book, Jump. Anyway I left feeling quite pleased that I had found some interesting new people to chat to, ones with a shared interest in putting finger to keyboard, or in some cases even pen to paper!
A month passed and it was time for the next meeting. I was quite looking forward to it and gathered my thoughts, if not actual evidence of having done any further prose in the time since the previous gathering. Once again a good time was had by all, we were discussing endings, which are surprisingly tricky things to master when you get down to thinking hard about them.
The night was just wrapping up when one of the more senior, or at least longer serving, members of the group caught my attention and told me that one of the things he does is work as an editor for a small publishing house in London, who are currently aggressively seeking new writers. He continued saying that he thought that the plot of my story sounded like something that they (the publishers) would be interested in, and would I be interested in sending him my manuscript so he could send it on to them to check out?
Unsurprisingly my answer was “yes”! However this is, of course, no guarantee of publication, or even that they will get back to me. But that doesn’t really matter. I am a new(ish) writer and so I know I can improve my technical and lyrical skills, the really important thing for me was to be told that the basic idea behind my novel is a good one, as ideas are the really difficult things to come up with.
So what does this actually mean? Well, to me it means that I can be fairly comfortable that I’m not just wasting my time throwing words at a page and that if I continue to work at it I might eventually come up with something which people may want to read.