The Wight Fair Writers & Artists Circle

A Place for Isle of Wight Authors, Writers and Artists

Jonathan’s Jottings July 2018


Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 6th July 2018, Orchard House Care Centre. Make-it-yourself coffee and tea. ON a diet anyway.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 3rd August 2018, Orchard House again.


Maggie, Andrew, Erica, Jonathan, Julie, Aidan, Anna, Fred, Martin, Irene, and Bev.

Maggie’s Announcements

Maggie announced that her publisher, Alfie Dog Fiction, is gradually easing down on its work, prior to shutting down. Sher will find another publisher onc3e she starts to produce her own work and has finished sorting out her house and garden.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

Andrew quite rightly asked me to amend some of my comments in past jottings, as below. I’m always happy to do this, because my memory isn’t what it used to be:

May: I wasn’t the winner of a short story competition in 2011 but placed second in the Isle of Wight Crime and Intrigue Competition, which I won the next year  resulting in my being invited to join Wight Fair Writers’ Circle in 2012.  I didn’t really “do the usual publishing thing”.  What happened was that I then wrote a novel in which an Agent showed interest, requesting a re-write and working on it with me for a couple of months before deciding that, despite liking the writing, she’d find it difficult to place.  After this, it didn’t “go quiet” because I was still writing short stories, which placed in competitions or were published – for example, during this period I became a “regular contributor” to Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special.  I started the YA novel alongside this other writing.

June: It wasn’t that I was wondering whether anyone read the blog – it seems to be getting the views/shares; it was a question of whether I was reaching the target audience: writers,  people who hope to write or are interested in writing.  

He was kind enough to suggest that I had inspired him to revisit his blog, and he came up with this idea:

What I’m planning to do in future is to have two sorts of post – one about writing technique, the other about the writing life.

I propose increasing this variety further by doing two collaborative posts, one based upon group members’ top tips on writing technique, the other based upon group members’ tips relating to the writer’s life.  Everyone included would be fully credited.  If those who are interested could bring their ideas to September’s meeting that would be great.

The other news I shared concerns my work with Independent Arts.  As part of their Time & Tide project, I have been delivering creative-writing sessions in a local sheltered accommodation provision.  The residents I worked with made this a delight.

Everyone has ideas and tips. We should take up Andrew’s idea and give these to him in September.

Erica told us she has been long-listed for the OWT (Online Writing Tips) short story competition. Good luck with that.

She’s fed up with getting rejections, and she told us about a friend who has a ‘Rejection Jar’. Every time she has a rejection, she puts 5 Euros in it, and one day these rejections will pay for a treat or a holiday. We all thought that was a great idea.

She also related a comment by one of the OWT judges. If you’re not getting rejections, you’re not trying!

She is rewriting her novel.

Jonathan: I mentioned that I’m keeping up with my columns and reviews and the jottings, but I’m making no headway with the novel.  Read many great books by brilliant authors, and I don’t quite believe that I could be as good as them, or that I could ever produce anything that a publisher would agree to make into a book, and the whole novel thing is so long and hard and time-consuming, and I just don’t seem to find the time for it, even though I’m not working. This brought on a very good and helpful discussion about how we manage to start and keep going and make the time for our writing. It boils down to being somewhat selfish and obstinate, and just getting down to it. There was talk about other people not understanding what this writing thing is, and expecting us to prioritise our lives differently. There was also talk about guilt, both for not spending enough time on our writing and for spending too much time on our writing and not on other things that other people might think were more important.

We came to no conclusion, but there were lots of ideas to think about. Thank you all.

Julie has been to Ireland, driving around the South West Coast on the Wild Atlantic Way, and now has another idea for a travel piece. She stayed at peoples’ homes, using Homestay, a bit like Air BnB

She bought in and passed round the National Express magazine (The View), which published her previous piece.

Aidan has stocked Ryde Bookshop with his wedding book, and one other. He hasn’t received an answer from Waterstones or the County Pres shops yet. He has found the weather too hot to write.

Anna has been busy. She has submitted her book to another agent. She hasn’t heard from the others. She’s feeling flat, and isn’t prioritising properly.

Probably the weather again. Things will look up.

Fred haws had another short-listing in a competition, but he gets depressed and frustrated because he wants to do better. There was a discussion about what this means, and the chances of winning, and the lack of guarantee that the best story will win anyway, because it depends on so many factors, particularly the mood of the final readers. He was mollified by the idea that every story in good competitions gets read several times, and that being listed is a real achievement, even though winning is much more of a lottery.

We also reassured Fred that he is a good writer, but that there’s no mechanism or process for success, which doesn’t always rely on good writing anyway.

He described that he is uncompromising in his writing life, and head refused to go to social occasions with his wife because he was writing. We were all shocked, but also very impressed.

Martin has been writing. He has two chapters left in his epic rewrite of his second novel, and can’t wait to finish it. He also has a website now.

Irene has been doing voluntary legal work, and finds it hard to refuse to help people. Otherwise she has no excuse for not writing, apart from family stuff and it’s too hot.

She has committed to writing two or three chapters by the next meeting. We shall see whether she has or not…

Bev still has no PC. That needs to be sorted properly and fast. In the meantime, she’s been emailing snippets.

She has been creating art, and has been dying using natural things, like rose petals and rust, and is enjoying that very much.

End notes

There were fewer of us, probably because of the weather, but we managed to fill the time with lively discussion and a lot of good ideas. There was plenty to take away to mull over.

The next meeting will be on Friday 3rd August at Orchard House. See you then. I can’t wait.

As always, if you’ve been mis- or under-represented, please let me know and I’ll correct it next month.

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