Krissy shares details of a new writing group. Ed
Writing, whether short stories or a full-length novel, can be a lonely and difficult business.
Writers block, plot holes, misbehaving characters are just some of the struggles that every budding author will face. And then there’s the complex issue of getting your work published. Do you self-publish? Start a blog or try the traditional route and get an agent first?
It was a dilemma facing two friends in Freshwater, who decided the time was right to combine their skills and experience and create a group to help other budding writers.
The West Wight Writers group
Krissy Lloyd, founder of the new West Wight Writers group,
“I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about ten years old. I remember in middle school we were given an assignment to write about an old castle in the middle of the forest. I think most of the other children wrote a side of A4. Mine was six chapters long!
“I have a box full of stories and plot outlines and at least two unfinished novels which I have been working on for years.”
But like many aspiring novelists, life got in the way. Having a child, going through a marriage break-up, a battle with depression and an anxiety disorder, meant that writing took a back seat for many years. But things are now looking brighter for Krissy.
“Mentally I’m feeling in a really good place now, thanks to the support of some amazing friends. Last year I took part in the Three Peaks Challenge for the West Wight Sports and Community Centre.
“It was the most difficult thing I have ever done, but it was a life changing experience. Knowing that I had the inner strength to climb Ben Nevis, taking it just one step at a time, completely changed my outlook. I’d put off my dreams for too long, so when I got back I picked up my notebook and started writing again.
“The idea for the West Wight Writers group came out of conversations with my friend Zoe Sadler. Zoe is a wonderful children’s book illustrator. She has been featured in several books, and in 2015 self-published her first picture book ‘The Lighthouse Keeper – A Cautionary Tale’ by doing a crowdfunding campaign. She is also due to appear at this year’s Isle of Wight Literary Festival.
“Zoe has a background in publishing, having worked as a book designer and illustrator for a small London publisher. However, like me, she was frustrated at how difficult it is not just to get published through the traditional route, but getting your book noticed and creating sales.
“We realised there must be lots of other writers out there in the West Wight feeling the same, so why not create a group where we can all get together and support each other.”
Between them, Zoe and Krissy have a lot of knowledge to share. Like Zoe, Krissy has experience of publishing through working as an assistant to a London literary agent.
“Part of my job was reading through the slush pile. We had around 2,000 manuscripts sent to us every year, but very few of these were picked up by the agents — so I know just how hard it is to get published. But I am not going to let that stop me!”
Expertise now lies in PR and marketing
Having started out as a reporter for Isle of Wight Radio, a wide variety of careers followed and Krissy’s expertise now lies in PR and marketing.
“The popularity of social media means that any author has direct access to their readers and can do their own marketing without the need to pay a PR company to do it for them. However, I have come across so many writers who just don’t know where to begin with it.
“Through the group, I hope I can give local writers some advice and pointers on what they can do. In return they can help me when I stumble into a big plot hole or when my inner critic starts whispering into my ear that my work is no good.”
‘The Rabbit Hole’
Once the idea of starting the group was formed, the next challenge was to find a venue. And there was only one choice ‘The Rabbit Hole’ – the delightful tea shop and children’s book section of ‘Mrs Middleton’s Bookshop’ in Freshwater.
“We knew it would be the perfect place to hold our meetings, so we were thrilled when Gail said she would love to host us.”
With the posters designed and the flyers printer, Krissy and Zoe are now busy spreading the word.
“Though we are called the West Wight Writers, it’s not compulsory to live this side of the Island! We welcome everyone, whether you are just starting out or are published. The important thing is that everyone is there to support each other.”
The first meeting is being held on Thursday 2nd March at 7pm.
It’s free but tea, coffee and cakes can be purchased from the tea shop.
“If anyone wants to get in touch, you can find us on Facebook. We had 15 members within the first four days of the group going live, so we think it’s going to be popular!”
For more information, you can also contact Krissy at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 07900 538440.