Need book writing help?

Workshops and Conferences

If you need book writing help workshops and conferences  can help push you to the next the level. Whether you’re starting out or looking to develop your skills there’s something to suit your needs and budget.

Do you need to attend workshops and conferences to be a writer? No,  absolutely not.  But as well as being a mine of information workshops and conferences can be an opportunity to network with agents, publishers and meet like-minded writers which  especially helpful when writing is such a solitary activity.

I’ve met people on one day workshops who I’ve stayed in touch with and have become friends. You can’t underestimate the importance of having a supportive network of other writers who understand the ups and downs of your journey.

So, with so much out there, where do you start?

Book writing help at fiction writing workshops

If you’re busy, with a demanding job or family to look after one or two day workshops can be ideal to squeeze into your lifestyle and budget. I aim to attend at least one workshop a year. 

I find that it helpful to have a whole day set aside to focus on your craft. It can feel like a luxury when you’re used to fitting writing into the nooks and crannies of the day but it’s a great way of making your writing a priority and taking it seriously.

While taking part in workshops I’ve had ideas pop up which I’ve been able to apply to your own writing.

There’s nothing like receiving advice from experienced writers.  Last year I attended a fiction writing workshop on Advanced Structure  with British Television Producer, John Yorke  as part of the London Screenwriters Festival.  I learnt so much about structure and how the professionals tackle scenes plus I got spend the day talking writing with friends.  The workshops at the London Screenwriters Festival are very reasonably priced.

 Online course in creative writing

If you need book writing help online courses are so accessible and perfect to fit around your schedule. Committing to a course is a good way of holding yourself accountable  and taking your writing seriously. On a course you have to allocate a certain amount of hours to writing which is a good way of making sure other things don’t stand in the way of your writing. You know what I mean... I just need to do the washing, go shopping,  check my eBay auction… Then I’ll get down to it.

Natalie has taken a couple of online courses. The first was with author Keris Stainton and she is currently studying a part-time course called WriteStoryBooksForChildren.com which she’ll be sharing insights from soon. 

Book writing help at creative writing conferences

If you haven’t attended any creative writing conferences yet then I’d thoroughly recommend you do. I always feel fired up and motivated after attending them.

Natalie and I have both been to  the Winchester Writers’ Festival on more than one occasion. The last time I went Julian Fellowes was the keynote speaker. He was so encouraging to aspiring writers in the audience. He talked through decisions he made in his career and what it was like working on Downton Abbey. 

You usually get to choose a number of workshops to attend throughout the conference. I came away with pages of notes and a brilliant reading list from a workshop with screenwriter Julian Unthank. His workshop alone taught me so much and the reading list build on what he'd shown us.

At Winchester you can select to have one to one meetings with agents, editors, publishers and authors, like at other creative writing conferences. Last time I met the lovely author, Sarah Mussi, agent Ben Illis  and also editor and author Beverley Birch.

My advice would be don’t miss opportunities to get feedback on your work even if it seems a bit daunting.  Some of the feedback you receive will be positive and some negative. I've been on the receiving end of both. It can be surprising the different responses people will give you to the same piece of writing but I’ve found that you can usually use most of it, good and bad, to improve (even if some of it makes you want to cry into your hot chocolate at the time.)

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