Was It Worth It?

Just on the way back from our group’s reading event which was at a lovely venue — the Art Workers’ Guild in Bloomsbury.

I enjoyed the night as a social event but it feels rather like work for me as I stepped into the breach as temporary webmaster and spent ages knocking up a website for the reading (the time taken representing my competence at web design rather than the sophistication of the task itself) and also supplying all the drinks. The latter was a particularly stupid thing for me to volunteer to do in retrospect as it’s going to involve two three and a half hour round trips into London (one tomorrow to clear the stuff out of the venue as we only drunk about half of the wine). So I’m completely mentally and physically burned out now.

Overall,  I think the practice of reading aloud in a social venue like that is great but, I wonder if the preparation for the event has taken such a large part of the end of the course it’s in danger of becoming almost like the opposite of a novel writing course — more like flash fiction where people are encouraged to hone the 600 words or so that might catch an agent’s ear. I think I’d rather end up with several thousand words of reasonably good prose than having spent nine months working on a few hundred – but perhaps I have it all wrong?

2 Replies to “Was It Worth It?”

  1. Hey Mike..yes, I too have mixed emotions about the event and of course it is what it is – a blatant hard sell.I was somewhere else entirely when I read my piece – perhaps in a good way, and had no idea of how I was comming across. The only thing I seemed to register was that I didnt stumble, which I was worried about. Listening to everyone else read I must say that I, personally, felt very proud to be part of such a strong group of excellent and diverse writiers. It struck me that we’d all heard these short extracts so many times, and know one anothers work SO well , that to listen to them at a reading event like this one made them all seem so very good and polished.

    The feeling I had afterwards in the ante room was akin to a child who’d done something wrong and who been asked to stand alone in the corner and think on the error of his ways – that was horrible. I dont do small talk at these sort of networking events very well and my hearing is poor so that the room just buszzes with hub bub.

    Later on I did get inetrest from two agents who came up to me. Although of course my til then fragile ego began to soar I then realised how much more hoop jumpimng the will be for all of us if it is our ambition to get our novels published.

    I did think that the event was a great way on which to end the course – an airing in such a lovey venue for the offspring of our hard work!


  2. I think yours was very clear — came over well.

    I didn’t enjoy it as much as I ought to have done as I felt quite physically and mentally shattered by taking too much on in terms of helping with the organisation. I was up at 5.30am to deliver the wine there — and all the website stuff.

    I was also annoyed as I wanted to enter some writing competitions with deadlines of the end of the month and I couldn’t because I was playing around with the website. I could probably also have read better had I not been so tired.

    I had the feeling that the agents that were there were more interested in the ‘literary’ end of the spectrum and liked the reflective, completely narrative pieces better. Perhaps that’s what comes across well to them as it’s easier to imagine on the page?

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