I’ve been festivalling this weekend. (It’s a verb these days) The Isle of Wight Literary Festival to be specific. The great thing about this literary festival is that it’s literally down the road. It’s as if someone arranges for writers, publishers and agents to come to my house for the weekend. It’s very good of them.
Listening to so many great writers over the last few days has filled me with inspiration. I heard Kate Mosse talk about her new book and the reason she fell into writing, Deborah Moggach regaled stories of hotels, Conn Iggulden confessed the torturous journey to publication, and Jessica Mann talked about killing people.
There were also other authors, agents and publishers who filled my head with thoughts over the weekend and every single session was interesting. I found by just being in the company of writers was quite inspirational. I’ve become obsessed by writers, their routines, their thought processes, their hopes and dreams, their beginnings, their endings, their characters, their place and plot, their families and anything else I can get at legally, so, to listen to them directly was amazing.
Unlike film stars and musicians, writers don’t really have a stage. They’re not used to adulation and readers aren’t used to giving it to them. So, whereas in the other popular forms of expression where the artist is quite offish and egotistical with their audience, I find that writers often come across as quite grateful that anyone has even bothered to turn up.
Their day job is quite isolating because they spend hours at a time talking to no one except the voices in their own heads, so when they can hear a response to their words they’re delighted. Plus you don’t really have the false sycophancy that you get in some of the other forms, so the whole atmosphere becomes easier.
They become much more endearing and normal to you because they talk about their faults with more energy than they would ever use to blow their own trumpets. Plus these people have done it. They’ve been sitting at my desk before, with the same insecurities and have lived to tell the tale. They’ve often had to persevere and this makes their stories even more inspirational.
I left with a resurgence of motivation and I can’t wait to begin my next project. Thank you to the Isle of Wight Literary Festival for a fantastic weekend.
Until next time…