Lydia Jones joins me as guest writer for our story writing workshop in Manchester on Monday, 26th September, so I thought I’d invite her to guest blog here, too!
Hi, I’m Lydia Jones and I’m delighted to have been asked to write a guest blog by Fiction Editor Shirley.
I’ve been a “Friend” author for twelve years now but I’ve been writing since I’ve been breathing: diaries; stories; poetry. I write because it’s part of who I am and if I don’t do it I am miserable and horrible to live with (just ask my husband!).
If you’re writing for yourself you can write whatever you like, but if you’re writing hoping for publication, it’s a different matter altogether, which is why a “People’s Friend” writing workshop is such a wonderful opportunity.
When I was starting out trying to get published, I would have given several non-essential body parts to spend an entire day with the Fiction Editor of a major women’s magazine listening to her tell me what she wants.
I was lucky. I sold the first three stories I ever sent to “The People’s Friend”…then I sold nothing else for a whole year! Clearly I had a little talent but I needed to learn how to apply it.
Watching the Olympics recently I’ve been struck by a strange similarity between sport and writing. For every athlete standing on the podium with a medal, there is a back-story of heartbreak, disappointment and determination. During the barren twelve months when I was learning (the hard way) what made a good magazine story, I had to endure lots of kind and encouraging rejections from Shirley, and some pretty unkind ones from other people, but I tried my best to profit from them. I am (my family will tell you) a stubborn old stick and I was not going to give up.
“The People’s Friend” writing workshop offers a potential shortcut on the path to publication, so I’m thrilled to be participating in the Manchester day as a guest tutor.
I hope whatever advice I can give will help others experience the surreal satisfaction of seeing something that started as a spark in your head appear on the page as a published story.
I don’t know who said this (I’m sure some of you do), but I love it: “A published writer is just an unpublished writer who wouldn’t quit”.
So if you’re thinking about a joining a workshop…enrol now! And if you’re coming to Manchester, I’ll see you there. http://www.lydiajones.co.uk
To remind you of our other dates: Bristol – September 7, with Helen Yendall; Dundee – September 15 and York – September 22. Here’s the booking form. We’ve arranged some super travel options from Superbreaks, too: http://www.superbreak.com/peoplesfriend or call 01904 436030 quoting ref HB794.