There’s nothing like a couple of hours sparkling conversation with like-minded writers to send you back to the keyboard with renewed vigour. Today was the second of a series of ‘Lit Latte’ coffee mornings, where an informal group of local writing folk get together to discuss writing, reading, publishing and why we find it so hard to ‘come out’ as writers!
As no-one had a latte, and most of us tucked into a full English breakfast at the excellent Dulwich Picture Gallery cafe, we may need to rename the gatherings. It’s a small group, with a range of experiences from the two published novelists, to those of us still slogging away on the first novel. Our ‘real’ jobs have included publishing, web design, journalism, law, civil service and life coaching, but all of us feel that writing is somehow essential to who we are and what we do.
With two new members this month, the gathering included a lot of getting to know each other, but we were quickly past the small talk and into the joys and agonies of writing, including such big questions as why we’re attracted to writing about the dark side of life, and how to come back from rejection. Weirdly, everyone to some extent felt that they were a bit of a fraud, and that someone else in the group represented the ‘real’ writer!
We discussed writing courses – two of us met on a Birkbeck course – self-publishing, which another two have positive experiences of, and audiences. I recounted my John Lanchester encounter (see Capital Neighbours), which seemed particularly surreal as we’ve got together because we all live close to each other and found loads in common to talk about. Maybe it’s just male writers who don’t talk to their neighbours.
It was a thoroughly inspiring session, and good timing as I’m just coming to the end of my Birkbeck Novel Writing course, and in need of some gumption to sustain me through the re-writing and editing of my novel. Time to crack on – so I’ll have progress to report at the next meeting of the Full English club.
I’ve also garnered a reading list, by dint of asking everyone around the table what they were reading. Here it is:
- Stephan Zweig, Beware of Pity
- Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness
- Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair
- Patti Smith, Just Kids