Extended writing work

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
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I wanted to start a thread to share and support our related-writing activities.

Whether it be first time at a panel, or chairing one, or guidance on convention etiquette. Advice on extended opportunities or what to charge for a workshop.

I have a pretty substantive writing life now and these are all up and coming in the next few months:
Attending a very lovely, invite only posh festival launch (tomorrow night - I’ll have to get glammed up!)
A writing workshop for young adults
A one day workshop on writing sff
Two conventions (would have been 3 but I need a holiday!)
New writing workshop in September for 10 weeks and hopefully my two existing ones (worried about this actually as I might also have 3 courses running in the day job)
A comic adaptation of one of my short stories (no money but very cool and might open new doors)
A couple of reading events
And running a fb group for local writers.

Anyone else doing ... anything? I sometimes feel a little alone...
 

Lumens

ɹǝɹoldxǝ ǝɯᴉʇǝɔɐdS
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I found this recently: Writers' HQ - Stop f***ing about and start writing

They do real life retreats as well as online courses. I work nights on weekends, otherwise I might be interested in the upcoming Bristol retreat. I'm not sure what you get for your money though, it's not entirely clear to me.

I signed up for one of their free courses to see what it's all about. Not sure what to make of it as it appears to be a recent startup to me. Might be worth keeping an eye on though...
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
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blah - flags. So many flags.
I found this recently: Writers' HQ - Stop f***ing about and start writing

They do real life retreats as well as online courses. I work nights on weekends, otherwise I might be interested in the upcoming Bristol retreat. I'm not sure what you get for your money though, it's not entirely clear to me.

I signed up for one of their free courses to see what it's all about. Not sure what to make of it as it appears to be a recent startup to me. Might be worth keeping an eye on though...
I run retreats locally and they are great. We all love them. @Kerrybuchanan is great fun on them!
 

Jo Zebedee

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Okay, so I'm taking it from the stunned silence that I might be one of the few going down this route. Which is really interesting because just about every writer over here is taking courses, or coaching, or leading writing projects for extra income.

Which leads me to ask a couple of questions:

Why aren't you exploring this sort of avenue? Is it that you already have an income and don't need to? Is it that you don't fancy writing-related income activities? Is it that you lack the confidence and/or knowledge to go for opportunities? Or is it just that you look at the very notion of it and think good grief, no, I write to enjoy myself...?
 

HareBrain

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I've given a couple of guest lectures and helped with workshopping for the Creative Writing BA at the local uni. I was fine with talking about my own work and my own experience in how I solved problems, but venturing at all outside that came with a massive dose of imposter syndrome. And then someone hands you a piece of their work, you have to read it for the first time in front of them, it turns out to be terrible, you have to construct a response on the fly that is genuinely helpful and doesn't hurt their feelings -- I think I'd have to be very hard up before I did that again.
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
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I've given a couple of guest lectures and helped with workshopping for the Creative Writing BA at the local uni. I was fine with talking about my own work and my own experience in how I solved problems, but venturing at all outside that came with a massive dose of imposter syndrome. And then someone hands you a piece of their work, you have to read it for the first time in front of them, it turns out to be terrible, you have to construct a response on the fly that is genuinely helpful and doesn't hurt their feelings -- I think I'd have to be very hard up before I did that again.
I can see you’d find that hard. I do carry out critique sessions but I always get the others in the group to feedback first which often deals with the thorny bits. I’m also always careful to give some nuggets of hope too.

I suppose I’ve been a tutor in a different field for years so maybe don’t get so worried about the feedback element.

Plus they’re nearly always more interesting that multiple finance management assignments...
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
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Why aren't you exploring this sort of avenue?
I'd love to - but I think I need to earn my stripes first.

If I ever begin a series of lectures on writing genre fiction, it would probably help to preface that with "Bestselling Amazon author" rather than "Unknown self-published author". :)

In the meantime, I admire the way you're building on your reputation - certainly you deserve it. :)
 

Jo Zebedee

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I'd love to - but I think I need to earn my stripes first.

If I ever begin a series of lectures on writing genre fiction, it would probably help to preface that with "Bestselling Amazon author" rather than "Unknown self-published author". :)

In the meantime, I admire the way you're building on your reputation - certainly you deserve it. :)
I think I didn’t have anything to my name but I felt the lack of support for sff here was so shocking someone had to do it.

On another note, you sell yourself short. Founder and owner of the UK’s biggest sff forum is not something to be sneezed at. You could talk about SEO optimisation, building communities, all that. People would love to share your experience.
Plus, I don't like people much.
That is a barrier, for sure :D
 

Toby Frost

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Why aren't you exploring this sort of avenue?
A number of reasons, most of which boil down to “I’m too busy” and “I don’t enjoy it enough”. If someone paid me £200 - £300 to give a lecture, I’d be on it like a bonnet, as Jane Austen should have said. I stopped doing SF conventions about 8 years ago because I found that I wasn’t as intensely into SFF as many of the attendees, and I felt out of place and a bit bored after a few days (that may have been a particularly bad convention, and things have almost certainly changed).

I have done writing conventions, sometimes as Token SF Person, and enjoyed them a lot even though most attendees are writing “literary” stuff or crime. However, the pay is thin and I’m not convinced that they result in a major rise in sales. I do a few steampunk events each year, usually as much to see friends as to sell books, and if I cover my costs, I’m happy.

Also, I’ve got a lot of writing projects on the go at the moment: there’s the self-published fantasy, and then a longer epic sequence that I’m hoping will end up published in the traditional way. Two other projects are on the back burner and can be picked up again if interest arises. As to whether this is a good strategy, I don’t know, but it does seem to combine enjoying writing with producing saleable material.
 

AnyaKimlin

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The Scottish Book Trust helps fund author talks in Scotland. It was about £140 plus expenses (travel, accommodation etc) for about an hour's work. I don't meet the criteria because I haven't taken my writing seriously. However I'm in negotiation with my college to do a series of workshops that are just about losing the fear of the page and getting words down. I've found it frustrating to be surrounded by people who struggle to get ideas down whilst I have the skills to help. I'm doing the Creative Writing BA next year so hoping to fit it round that.
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
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blah - flags. So many flags.
The Scottish Book Trust helps fund author talks in Scotland. It was about £140 plus expenses (travel, accommodation etc) for about an hour's work. I don't meet the criteria because I haven't taken my writing seriously. However I'm in negotiation with my college to do a series of workshops that are just about losing the fear of the page and getting words down. I've found it frustrating to be surrounded by people who struggle to get ideas down whilst I have the skills to help. I'm doing the Creative Writing BA next year so hoping to fit it round that.
That’s awesome!
 

Toby Frost

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It's very difficult to know what I should be doing, to be honest. It's often a matter of striking a balance between events and just staying at home writing. The main factors are "fun" and "career advancement/profit". Sometimes I think it's better to advertise myself, and other times it seems better to produce more content. It's probably a mixture, but hard to judge.
 

CTRandall

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I suppose I'm mostly invested in music, rather than writing. While I'm plodding away on a novel and submitting short stories to zines, I'm much better placed to do musical events/lectures. And I enjoy that.

It would be fun to do literary events as well but I need to get off my backside, go to a convention or two and learn the lay of the land. Maybe I'll see some of you at one of the cons soon!

@Brian G Turner I agree with Jo. You run an awesome website and are in constant contact with a huge base of sff fans and writers. I would think agents, publishers, film/TV writers/producers and fans would love to pick your brains about what trends you see, how you build a community, how the scene has changed, etc.
 

Kerrybuchanan

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I run retreats locally and they are great. We all love them. @Kerrybuchanan is great fun on them!
The retreats are great. I thought I was pretty boring on them, but I definitely have fun!

I am quite involved in cons, panels, readings at literary events, etc, and I also facilitate a writing group in my local library. It’s not because I think I’m anything special, but because I needed something like that when I started out and it wasn’t there. Like Jo, I have no problem at all with the critique parts and actually produced a handout on critique for the group quite early on (loosely based on our guidelines here on Chrons) to make sure everyone knew what to expect and how to critique constructively. It’s working really well.

I am extremely time-limited by my caring duties, which are pretty much 24/7/365, but I fight very hard to get time off for things that matter, like meeting Chronners in Dublin and Belfast!

I have a guilty secret though. I don’t really enjoy cons very much. Like @Toby Frost said above, I never really feel as if I quite fit in, but I do love meeting friends there, and I enjoy the discussion in panels (despite the inevitable imposter syndrome). I sort of go as a duty rather than a pleasure and I’d probably rather hang out in a local coffee shop and chat to friends in their breaks between panels.
 

Toby Frost

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I think I was born at the wrong time for conventions. I don't have the extreme reverence for Tolkien that a lot of fans older than me do, and I feel that a lot of golden age SF has good ideas and mediocre writing. However, YA isn't of much interest, and the way that some modern fandom works, with its intense emotional attachment to series and characters, doesn't fit with the way that I read. I feel that I fall between the two high points.

I do like having the opportunity to discuss writing and SF in a bar, but I can do that at steampunk events or at non-SFF writing events. I would like to do a convention sometime, but maybe just for a day or so.
 

millymollymo

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It amazes me how much we "writers" do, outside of "writing" and is taken for granted.

I've run writing workshops locally, and in schools.
Theres a few non genre articles out there with my name on.
I've a game adaptation in the works. :D (it'll be some time before it sees the light of day, folks!)
I organise the local genre social.
I've done a couple of panels in the past, and will be hosting the Edge-Lit welcome event again this year.
I found this recently: Writers' HQ - Stop f***ing about and start writing

They do real life retreats as well as online courses. I work nights on weekends, otherwise I might be interested in the upcoming Bristol retreat. I'm not sure what you get for your money though, it's not entirely clear to me.

I signed up for one of their free courses to see what it's all about. Not sure what to make of it as it appears to be a recent startup to me. Might be worth keeping an eye on though...
Heard a fair bit about WHQ & interested to see where it's going, but I haven't signed up for it. It will be interesting to see where it's going.
 
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