Over a year ago I attended a writing course aptly titled “The Inspiration Project,” the brainchild of Carmel Harrington, Hazel Gaynor and Catherine Ryan Howard. It changed forever how I think about myself as a writer, as well as giving me focus and belief in my writing project. My new years resolution this year was to get my memoir written and in case you missed the latest news… well, it’s part of this months diaries below! So, sit back and read on to see how myself and my two fellow writers, Casey King and Clare Daly are getting on. This blog comes from theinspirationproject.ie, (if you’d like to check it out) where you can see details of their Septembers course.
Gorgeous posts from our three writers this month in which there is lots of ‘waiting to hear’, and some Very Good News. Perhaps more than any other, these three updates perfectly capture the emotional rollercoaster of the writing life. We hope you enjoy following their progress.
Casey King @letstalkcrime
I had a very exciting few weeks. As well as my agent’s summer party in London, I was Catherine’s guest for the research part of her (sold out!!) Crime Writing Workshop at Bantry Literary Festival. Catherine has always encouraged me to acknowledge my worth and bring to the fore the valuable police procedural knowledge that I have. Since then, I have received kind follow-up emails, further questions and enquiries re: consulting, as well as testimonials, should I wish to run a course, or give a talk on Applying Police Procedure to your Crime Writing at future events. Afterwards Catherine took me to a fabulous lunch where we brainstormed, talked all things crime, and had a proper catch- up.
Back to the reality of pursuing my dreams, I work full-time, as in fifty-eight hours, before my days off – or rest days as they’re known in the job. I am also a mammy and my husband is self-employed. Needless to say, I haven’t done a tap of writing in about eight weeks. Yes, it’s frustrating, my brain is busy with everything else. I began to worry that my writing mojo was slipping into the oblivion of daily life. Then, while out walking my dog – oh yeah, there is a dog to walk too on top of everything else – I found an injured butterfly. As I carried this little creature in my open palms, thinking about its delicate, yet important purpose, a lot of thoughts flooded to, and exploded in my head. For me, the butterfly is extremely significant, I may share why in a later post. It reminded me of something, in order to write you must feel, it gives your characters authenticity. So, for the first time in weeks I felt my writing, I remembered why I create, and I opened my laptop and wrote a flash fiction piece about the butterfly’s journey, and mine.
Clare Daly @claredalyauthor
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wish I had some good news for you. But sadly, another month has passed, and I am still none the wiser about my submissions. I did get an email in July from one agent’s office to apologise for the delay and to ask if the manuscript was still available which was very welcome, so it’s all still in play. However, in a bid to better my chances, I decided to send out a couple more. One agency I sent my first book to, opened their submissions for two weeks only so that was the push I needed to get active again.
On the writing front, it’s been a case of good week, bad week. It’s the summer holidays which means the kids are home, throwing any routine out the rainy window. On the positive front, I’ve developed a smaller plotline in my sequel to Our Destiny Is Blood that I’m enjoying getting stuck into. One that was but a glimmer in my first draft and I love how seeds can be sown without you even knowing it and how they can surprise you later. I’ve also found solace in literary events, and the recent Murder One Q&A with Adrian McKinty gave me the shot in the arm I needed to keep on the path. McKinty’s success story is already the stuff of legend. He’d given up. Forced through financial circumstance to quit the writing game, when a late-night phone call from a US agent changed his life. The book he pitched that night, kidnap thriller The Chain, would go on to become an international bestseller. It’s an incredible story (even better told in person) and makes you believe that amazing things do sometimes happen when you least expect it.
So, as the holidays draw to a close and the kids get back-to-school ready, so do I. I’ve booked my place on Refresher’s Week, the next Inspiration Project event on September 14th. A day for me. For my writing. To recharge the batteries and soak up all that brilliant motivation from Hazel, Carmel and Catherine. Can’t wait.
Tric Kearney @trickearney
As you left me last month, I’d put my heart and soul into an email and sent it off to two agents re my memoir. Before pressing ‘send’ on my query letter I perused it like a short story, every word double checked to ensure it had said all I wanted it to. The feeling after sending was a mix between relief that it was gone and that feeling of horror you get when you send a message to the wrong person and shout for it to come back.
One agent, Faith O Grady, from Lisa Richards Agency, replied and requested I send all that I had written so far. I did, after first spending some time tidying it up and panicking thinking I’d over sold its promise. Not too many days later I got an email. Was I ready to read what she’d said? Taking a deep breath, I quickly scanned it for the words, but… or unfortunately… Neither appeared. So, I read and reread it. Faith was interested and wondered if we could meet? I happily agreed.
I stayed with my brother in my family home the night before our meeting. A home with fresh memories of Mum, her cooking, her beautiful garden, her laughter, her hugs. How excited she and Dad would have been for me. The next morning, alone with those memories, I cried for hours, so much so I feared Faith might suspect I’d conjunctivitis! Finally, wearing a special necklace and precious ring I sat beside Faith and did my best to convince her mine is a story others would like to read. And, as of last Friday she agreed to be my agent and do her best to find my memoir a home.
This year has been one of great sadness, but this was a welcome moment of joy. Such is life. Take it one day at a time, and if you’re writing, don’t give up.