Focus

What does focus mean to you? Something that happens automatically when you use your modern camera or smartphone? A type of Ford car?

I’m talking about personal focus. That moment of clarity, when the fug and fog around you disappears, what’s truly important comes into view.

The life of an independent author – one who doesn’t have a traditional deal with a large or medium-sized publisher – is one of wearing two hats, almost being a Janus figure – looking both ways. Janus, the God of beginnings and transitions. The beginning is the creative side, the writing of a novel; the transition is one of becoming a commercial author.

What are you talking about, Gerald?

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The great disease of 2020

No, I’m not talking about *that* disease. This is a disease which isn’t talked about, except amongst writers, artists and other creatives.

It’s a strange disease, to do with lockdown, to do with anxiety, to do with a general feeling of unease.

And it has meant that us creatives haven’t been very … well, creative. I know, Jemima learnt to play the Flügel horn, and Benedict has been sharpening up his ancient Greek proverbs, but for many of us, we’ve just been feeling a bit … meh.

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Swanwick!!!

Yes, three exclamation marks! August can only mean one thing – the summer writing school at [ Swanwick ]. Check out the details on their website.

It’s an amazing week. This will be my third year at Swanwick, and each year, I love it a little more!

Many superb courses and workshops, fascinating and entertaining after-dinner speakers, and loads and loads of fun!

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New gig – Wrabfest

We’ve got a new gig – at [ Wrabfest ], a one-day festival in a village near to us. It is a huge affair, offering foodstalls, a beer tent, and two stages with acoustic and electric bands throughout the afternoon and evening. There’s something for everyone!

Including, of course, The Big Write, where we work with children to help them create stories aided by Ten Tin Tales, Story Trays, Story Cards and other helpful exercises.

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Busy and not busy

It’s one of those months. When I look through the calendar, I see almost nothing booked for me. For my partner, [ Anita Belli ], she’s incredibly busy working in primary schools in the local area, delivering a literacy project based on several topics in the curriculum.

I’m hopping from project to project, seemingly unable to stick at one thing. The summer is nearly here, the tomatoes we planted are beginning to fruit. So that’s good.

Whilst we’re quiet, I’ll remind you that the [ writer support ] website is live, with some information on the type of services we can offer. Website design, manuscript editing, formatting and publishing – they’re all there!

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