Creative Connections…

A few years back I did a series of posts that offered advice to those considering self-publishing. You can find them still if your interest in the Publishing and Writing section at the top of the page, as 90% of the advice is still valid. The reason for this particular post, however, is down to one comment I made in all those posts, and have made more than once in others which is the single most important piece of advice I can give to any fledgeling writer, which was neatly summed up towards the end of the first of those original posts with the following phase…

Engaging with the community, that is priceless

I have, I would venture to say, never said truer words. At least in regards to the indie writing and creative community. Engagement matters and oddly enough engagement is often its own reward. For the writer is a solitary beastie, that hides from direct sunlight and types away at keyboards made to bleed fingers and souls in equal measure… So it’s good sometimes to realise you are not alone, but more than this, it is good to share the dreams of wonder once in a while and making creative connections to like-minded souls who shun the mundanity of existence as they strive to create something greater than the sum of its parts, well it restores your faith, if not in humanity, then in the possibility that it all may even be worthwhile somehow.

Now if that all sounds a tad pretentious, a little overblown, perhaps even a smidgen melodramatic, then I suspect you have not spent quite as much time with writers as I have. For writers are, I have always found, primarily introverts with extrovert souls… We have a perchance for the occasional piece of flowery prose… Well, I do at any rate…

But to get back to the point, Engaging with the community is priceless, and the story of my writing life is one of engagement with a strange collection of individuals in an ever more entangled web that, if all truth be told, is more complex and entangled than I or even they perhaps perceive. So let me tell you a story of those connections, and I apologise not at all for the plethora of links involved, for all these people have done much to keep me sane, happy and engaged with a world that would seem at times cold and shallow were in not for their ilk…

Where to start, well perhaps it’s best to start somewhere near the beginning, not at the very beginning, for that is a much longer tale involving typewriters, teenage angst, the birth of the personal computer, word processors and about thirty years of slavishly writing words that no one would ever read, for I would be damned before I let them. But to skip forward a little, to a point not long after I first starting writing this blog (all be it a different blog then, on a different site). I was out one weekend with my girlfriend of the time, and we wondered into Stockton high street where Kapow Sci-fi fair was underway and somewhere in the main marque I met the first of these connections at a small stall, the wonderful C.G.Hatton, writer of the Thieves Guild novels, and matriarch of Sixth Element Publishing, who convinced me not only to by a copy of her splendid first novel, but in a five minute chat where I admitted to writing the odd word or two myself, she convinced me to actually finish a novel myself. And, shock horror, perhaps even publish it and see what happened…

kapow-banner-1-e1463582308766-300x139

Now my first meeting with C.G. has developed into legend, as such things are want to do, a legend told in darkened rooms over a pint or two, amongst a small collection of people, mainly because I bring it up a lot… and perhaps the legend is greater than the truth could ever be… But all the same, without that nudge I doubt Cider Lane would ever have been written, Passing Place would still be an ever-growing manuscript constantly being rewritten, and Hannibal, well I suspect that roguish swine would never have ended up existing at all (whether or not that would be a good thing is open to interpretation).

Through C.G. and a man who is certainly not called Harvey I also met another connection in the form of Craig Hallam. A writer of Steampunkery, and strange horrors, and a jolly nice chap to boot. I came across Craig because of Twitter, but only because I knew C.G. and 6E, they knew Craig through conventions, so as he was liking and commenting on the same posts as me we started talking and following each other.

Then there is Meredith Debonaire, who appeared on my radar I actually know not how, possibly witchcraft was involved or some combination of Twitter, blogging and sheer fluke, but through her and Craig I started to notice posts by Tom and Nimue Brown and their wonderful Hopeless Maine… Tom recently drew the cover for Merry’s next book and has done some art for Craig of late but that was after I started following the Druids behind Salamandra, indeed I was barely aware of the connections between these four at the time. But there is more, there is always more…

The Browns led to Pheobe Darlique and Madaline of Boston Metaphysical fame, and Nils the lord of Sussex Steampunkery... C.G. led to the writers of 6E, the Thursday night writers who seldom talk of writing, and all the Harvey Duckman crowd. There are other too, Katie Salvo over in the states and Karen Carilse in the land down under. Kate the Blockchain princess, Pete and his rat, And a whole lot more. Connections connections connections…

And the point? The one I am groping towards? I said it right up there at the start…

Engaging with the community, that is priceless

Because this eclectic collection of worthy souls has helped me in so many ways. Ways they often don’t even realise. When it all seemed pointless, they were lights in the darkness, when I needed a kind word they were they to give one, when I needed encouragement they supplied it in spades even if they did not know they did so. The more connections I have made, the better life is as a writer, so my advice to anyone is this, engage with the community, find new friendships, be splendid, and they will be splendid to you. (of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but I endeavour never to be one myself.)

Which is why this Saturday I will be back at Kapow, where this journey kind of started, only stood at the other side of the table behind a wall of books, and who knows I may inspire someone else to actually finish writing a book and letting out there into the world… Because sometimes all you need is a push and a maybe a little help from friends you have yet to meet…

This entry was posted in amreading, amwriting, goodreads, Harvey Duckman, indie, indie novels, IndieApril, indiewriter, kapow, opinion, pointless things of wonderfulness, publication, reads, sci-fi, self-publishing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s