Monday, 25 April 2011

Making the most of an opportunity

I have had the most incredible Easter holiday and feel on a complete high after a visit from Chanel 4 'Time Team' to our village.

The atmosphere was electric when I drove home on the Tuesday evening as there were film crew all over the place and the residents were coming out to watch the proceedings with excitement.

It has always been one of my favourite programmes and for more than ten years I have been watching the team dig a bit of history, so when they were on my door step, not only the fan in me came out but the writer too!

Of course I would loved to have interviewed some of the stars but they were incredibly busy and were constantly on the move, jumping into the Time Team vehicle to travel to different sites. They even got the TT helicopter out which circled my house several times. I was lucky enough to bump into Phil Harding and had a lovely chat to him. He explained that it is a job and although they are happy for residents to watch, people have to respect that they are working. I suppose it's similar for us mere mortals as even in my mundane job, customers have to book an appointment first.

However, by being allowed on site, I did get to speak to a lot of the other people involved and reckon I have enough material for an article with a different angle. I think that it is important to make any opportunity work for you and even if you can't get the big one, turn it into something more achievable.

To be quite honest I think I was so Star-struck that if any of them had agreed to an interview I would have been a hopeless mess anyway! That's something for me to work on in the future as my confidence grows.

It was hard to walk away from the magical surroundings of what is normally just the village green where the kids play football. Being allowed to watch the filming as the other stars enjoyed a pint of beer was a real honour and I left the place inspired with some amazing memories to use in the future as well as several ideas that I need to research for future projects.

I call that a result!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Trying something new

I went out for a Chinese meal on Friday and my fortune cookie revealed this message pictured above. I got goosebumps when I read it as for some time I have been wanting to try some new things with my writing.

I have just enrolled with the British College of Journalism for a distance learning course. I hope to come out of it with a diploma in freelance journalism and more confidence to tackle new things. I am really looking forward to it as I think it will help me develop as a more versatile writer, hopefully giving me a better chance of getting work published.

I do tend to stay in my comfort zone of writing about what I know and love (my chickens!) and although there is no problem with this, I feel that I want to dip my foot in the water and see what else is out there.

My course starts in May so I shall get cracking with all the things that are outstanding at present to give me a clean slate to begin my new project.

As my fortune cookie says 'You never try, you never know!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Timing it right

I had an unexpected half day off work today and raced home with the intention of doing as much as I could.

I wanted to start by following up on some of my submissions which I sent at the start of the year but on ringing every publisher, I was told that the person I needed to speak to was at the London Book Fair. I wondered at that moment if I should start attending and hunting these people down in person but then I came to my senses and thought not!

I know for me it was just bad timing and I am no closer to knowing what is happening with my non-fiction book or my novel but at least they could tell me that my manuscripts had reached them and how long I may expect to wait for a response which was at of some comfort.

I think it is so important to take all these sort of things into account when you are waiting for an answer. I had a great conversation with a lady who had purely picked up the call from another department and had nothing to do with the book publishing side, yet she was able to tell me that with events like the book fair, personal holidays and bank holidays, this is how it works and we may have to wait a long time for a result.

However, on a positive note I have spent the afternoon in my sunny little attic, scribbling down new ideas, ordered a few writing books, applied to join the Society of Authors and also looked into some writing courses which I hope will help me develop my writing skills in the future.

I reckon that is a positive result and perhaps I did time it just right!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Never work with Children, Animals or Neighbours!

There is a saying that you should never work with children or animals and that has certainly come true for me over the last week. Brodie my pony pictured above is well and truly on the naughty step after his recent behaviour. He has almost certainly spoiled my chances of getting an interview for an article I wanted to write.

After attending Julie Phillip's great workshop the other week at our Wrekin Writers meeting, I felt really motivated to go and try some new ideas with my writing. I wanted to branch out into other projects.

I thought I had my perfect chance when I discovered a lady in the village has a very unusual hobby. Armed with note book I tracked her down feeling very exited with the material I may be able to get. Instead of an interview I got a severe telling off! She informed me that Brodie was escaping out of his field and into hers. I guess he thought the grass was greener. I was upset as she was clearly not happy which I do understand but every option I gave was not enough and we parted on very unfriendly terms.

For a while I pondered on the situation and thought I will never bother again. I thought it would be so easy with someone I know but my confidence dropped after such a horrible experience.

However a few days on I reckon nothing could be that bad even with a total stranger so my notebook is at the ready for my next willing interviewee!