October, Part Two: In which there are no tricks, just hard work, and occasional treats!

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This month, our three determined writers are rediscovering the magic in their writing, banishing self doubt, and saying, ‘I’m a writer’ out loud.

Clare Daly

I have to admit I was a bit nervous heading to last month’s Inspiration Project event in Dun Laoghaire. I’d attended the same event last year and was worried that I’d give off stalker vibes or worse – sheer desperation to Hazel, Catherine and Carmel. Here’s yer one, back again! I knew the content was ground we’d already covered, but I really needed a shot in the arm of motivation and a chance to re-focus having decided to hang up the self-publishing. I need not have worried.

As Catherine talked about plotting and Carmel delved into characters, ideas around a story I’d just started to work on, fired up in my head. I realised too while listening to Hazel talk about editing, how I used to love it and that the forensic approach I’d taken last year had sucked all the joy out of it for me.

I left with immediate ways to improve my writing but one of the best takeaways of the day was the recommendation of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Flicking through it during a coffee break, I knew I had to read it. This isn’t a how-to-write book it’s a how-to-live book. We spend so much time in our own heads, the toll can be heavy and Big Magic was a revelation about what it means to choose a creative life. It also offers a wonderful idea. That inspiration chooses you. It wants you to succeed. It wouldn’t come to you to then work against you. It wants you to type The End. It’s such a positive book and one I can see myself reading again and again.

Even a rejection last week failed to dent my optimism. It was from a submission I only sent out the week before, but I was happy to get a speedy reply. It’s good to know that the multiple submissions I’m sending out are at least landing and not disappearing into the abyss. I also entered the Novel Fair at the Irish Writers Centre should my future agent be lurking there.

For now, it’s time to get this new story down and rather being in fear of it, work with the inspiration this time – that’s where the magic is.

Casey King

Never underestimate the power of networking. We headed to Dingle for the Food Festival – one to recommend for the bucket list. While checking out the programme in advance I felt like I needed a bit more education on cocktail making – although some of my friends would disagree – and so I signed up to a class. We got the last few places, on arrival we were told it was booked out, they’d be filming for Fáilte Ireland and if we were camera shy we had the option to not attend as there was a waiting list. She hadn’t the full-stop on her sentence when we said, ‘lead us to the cocktails.’

We selected a nice wide seat, then bunched up to make room for three more who’d arrived close to the starting time. We got chatting, I was asked what I do. I told them that I’m a writer and I write crime novels. They were quite excited at this prospect. The information exchange flowed. It turned out that each of the three people possessed information that I needed for my next phase of research for the book I’m currently working on – a stand-alone psychological thriller. We bonded over Porn Star Martinis, Old Fashions and Cosmopolitans. What followed was a bit of a pub crawl and a late-night, post cocktail, pepperoni pizza. I did inform them of my ‘day-job’ which caused a lot of slagging and more craic.

On a serious note we discussed mental health and our different experiences and various life journeys. Overall, it was an amazing night. So, never be afraid to bunch up and make room and never, ever be afraid to tell people you’re a writer. Say it, shout it, own it.

Casey King @letstalkcrime is represented by Kate Nash @KNLA

Tric Kearney

Phew, time for a distraction, or should I say, time to write another Inspiration Diaries entry. So, how is my memoir going? If I’d written this a couple of weeks ago I’d have been boasting about how I was on a roll and the words were flying onto the page. I’d written several stories and was, if I do say so myself, rather pleased with how they’d turned out. Then, I decided to take a week off writing, to briefly visit family in Dublin and try to catch up on the housework and other, not at all glamorous things, that I’d neglected while in my writing bubble. What a terrible decision that was! Within days I was plagued by insecurities and doubts. What was I doing writing a memoir? Who did I think I was?

Eventually, I realised the only way to battle those inner bullies was to get back into routine and return to writing. How is that working out for me since? In truth, it’s been difficult. I have largely banished the doubts, but the words have been letting me down. Knowing the story I wish to tell, and finding the words to tell it, are two very different things. I’ve spent the past week, writing thousands of words, deleting almost all of them and writing some more, yet still have no story to show for it. It’s hugely frustrating, but when I feel like giving up I remember the previous stories I finished and the buzz when I knew I’d found the right words.

Such is the reality of writing. Reading books it’s hard to imagine somebody might one day have struggled as they wrote them. However, I’ll keep trying and hoping that maybe tomorrow the words will jump onto the page and I’ll be one step closer to ‘the end.’

See you next month.

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