Friday, 10 February 2012

Arvon Inspires

Today I am celebrating being half way through the final edit of my novel and well on the way to sending it out to agents in March. That’s the deadline I’ve set myself before I have to give up the luxury of being a full-time writer and go out and earn some money.

The celebration didn't involve much - just a cup of coffee and a break from editing to browse through the little Arvon Foundation Creative Writing Courses 2012 book which landed on my doormat sometime around Christmas. There are several courses I’d love to go on, but as I am currently unwaged I feel guilty spending such a lot of money.

If you haven’t come across the Arvon Foundation writing courses, you should check them out. They are expensive, so you need to be pretty serious about your writing, or immensely rich, but they are also of the highest quality and I can’t recommend them enough.  

Spending a wonderfully intense week completely immersed in the Arvon experience of ‘living as a writer’, where you are virtually cut off from the outside world, but in the company of like minded souls, was one of the best experiences of my life.  I can’t believe it’s nearly three years since I attended the fiction writing course at The Hurst, in the depths of Shropshire’s ‘blue remembered hills’, which was led by the authors Jill Dawson and Kathryn Heyman.

The Hurst
I was incredibly nervous before arriving on the course, especially since a friend’s husband had been on one and said there was one attendee who would only read out her work from behind a cupboard door. I’d watched Big Brother and the thought of being shut away with a load of weirdos was not what I was paying so much money for. I needn’t have worried. The folks on my course were fantastic and I’ve kept in contact with several of them. I can still remember the incredible buzz the course left me with, and how it was partly responsible for some life changing decisions (see 'About Lesley' for more on those).

Ah well, back to the editing. I'm coming up to a couple of tricky sections and need to decide whether to drastically cut a couple of chapters or to rewrite them into several shorter chapters. Either way needs careful thought if I am going to maintain the pace and keep the sense of the sections. The trouble with this editing lark is that I am at heart a procrastinator hidden behind a veneer of wicked organisation. I have always known I work better to a deadline, so setting my own deadlines is not a good thing. Before Christmas I was allowing myself to be seriously sidelined by new house and new dog stuff, but I am determined to keep on track now, apart from the obvious distraction of writing for this blog!


  1. Ah thank you for writing this post - it's brought a smile to my face remembering our amazing week. 3 years? How is that possible? But so wonderful we've kept in touch with each other.

    Our peer group has been so supportive to my writing. And we've had a few laughs along the way too xx

    1. All the while she was mentoring me Kathryn said how 'special' our groups was, and she meant special nice rather than special needs!