March, Part Two: Great Expectations

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In Part Two of our March diaries, our three intrepid writers knuckle down, and this time, it’s getting serious! Amazing to see how much has already happened in the first three months of 2019. Cheering you on all the way, ladies!

Clare – @claredalyauthor

On paper it looked straightforward. A carefully curated day in London. Book research at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Charles Dickens Museum, Buckingham Palace and the V&A, all intricately scheduled around the reason for my trip – the chance to pitch my novel to an agent at the London Book Fair. My bleary eyes and sore feet perhaps tell a more chaotic tale today, but I needed those lovely distractions in case it all went horribly wrong.

It’s a tricky thing to master, to sell yourself and your work in ten precious minutes. The worry that you’ll forget your pitch, that stage fright will set in and they’ll think you’re a twit. And so, while I told myself going to London would be no big deal, the anxiety yesterday and all week has been at def con one.

The comparisons to speed dating are accurate. You are looking for a new relationship. You long to make that connection. To find the one to steer you on the right course. And you cling to the notion that one day, someone will say yes. In a pitching scenario, no matter how much you rehearse the conversation in your head, its never going to play out like that in reality. Like a river, this one meandered, a different flow to the babbling brook I’d practiced. Thankfully they were interested in my premise and asked that I send them a submission directly as opposed to their online system, which sounds promising. At the end of the day it still comes down to the words on the page.

So why do it? Why put myself through it? I can email submissions off with less time, money and anxiety. I do it because I hope that all those little and big things (like flying to London), someday will cultivate the right pitch, with the right agent and in turn the right publisher. I am looking for my champion, and I’ll keep looking until I find them.

Tric – @trickearney

It’s March and life is racing by. I’d love to say, so too is my memoir, but in truth, it’s an ever-shrinking work in progress as I’ve deleted more than I’ve written this month!
At times this has frustrated me, but I hold on to the idea that any writing is better than none and even a bad day has merit.

So, now I’ll tell you something I’d rather not. I’ve decided to apply for an event called ‘Date with an agent.’ Why would I rather not tell you? Because, it’ll be embarrassing to confess in a few weeks I was rejected. However, such is the life of a writer, and if we only read of success, we will never know how many twists there are for the majority in the road to publication. Of course, I might also get lucky!

To apply I must send in a short author bio, the first chapter of my work and a synopsis. They will choose sixty writers to meet one of six agents. Unfortunately, only one agent has an interest in memoir, but that’s okay, I’m only looking for one. I’ve been trying to write the ‘up to 1000 word’ synopsis and honestly I’m beginning to doubt I know my own life story! I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve congratulated myself
on a job well done, only to read it back and think… no, that’s not the story I’ve written.
However, I’m sure I’ll get there, eventually.

On a more positive note my ‘It’s My Life,’ column in the Irish Examiner’s Feelgood is still
going strong. It’s not easy to come up with a weekly humorous account of my life, but I
always get there in the end.

Until next month, thank you for reading and if you’re supposed to be writing… get back to it.

Marie – @letstalkcrime

Will the Real Writer Please Stand Up?
A crime fighting crime writer, that’s me. I can’t remember at what stage I felt it was okay to call myself a writer. I don’t recall using the term poet even when I had two poems commended in The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry competition, or when I was invited to read my poetry at the Hunt Museum in Limerick. I’ve no memory of using the term playwright when I co-wrote a staged play. I think I used the term short-story writer on publication of my first two-thousand-word piece, and maybe when I came third in the Kanturk Arts Festival Flash Fiction competition. But to describe myself to someone else as a writer, I don’t exactly know when I first did.

If you draw or paint, you’re an artist, if you can Jive or do the Rumba, you’re a dancer. So, what does it take? Buying several fancy notebooks and novelty pens, thinking about writing, doing a course? I bet you hesitate to tell people that you write. They don’t realise that if you head to a literary festival it’s for more than just the craic. If you dedicate a weekend to meeting like-minded, novel creating people you try to justify the reasoning or the cost. Now, where you want to end up as a writer? That is a whole other manifestation, and blog post. If you write then you are a writer, whether you are published or not, whether you have an agent or not.

Towards the end of February, I got an excited email from my agent saying I was listed under The Book Seller’s Agents’ Hotlist for the London Book Fair 2019, and she sent me a copy of the page. Maybe now I can call myself a writer, or a crime writing crime fighter.

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