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An Amazing Day – Writers’ Toolkit 2013


This is an amazing annual writer networking day, now in its 5th year, I found out about it earlier this year and many writers I have met since have recommended it as a DEFINITE event to attend. I wasn’t sure I was ready, thanks to supportive writing friends with a little encouragement I booked a place. WWM

For the cost of a workshop you get 2 keynote speakers and 4 panel talks (each one consisting of 3 people and a chair) – so that’s 18 experts in a day and a FREE lunch! (Plus pastries and coffee – which I missed as I barely made it in time to register.)
I wrote notes all day (and have a slightly aching wrist and lots of admiration for all long hand writers!) My 2013 notebook is nearly full, it will be by the New Year. 2013

The main dilemma was choosing which talks to attend – and many that I wanted were in the same strand and you could only choose one. I am going to do my best to find people who went to the other groups or contact the facilitators for more information. There was one on publishing that I completely missed and another one which may have been more relevant for where I am about how writers and libraries can work together. (Although I have a librarian contact who I could maybe get such information from.)

This is what I did manage to attend;

Opening Key Note Address:        Kate Pullinger – Writing for Digital Platforms                       

Novelist and writer for print and digital platforms, Kate Pullinger, considers how writing on a digital platform can inspire creativity.

Strand 1                             

Planning Successful Writing Projects

Jo Bell – Poet, Canal Laureate 2013 Ian Billings – Children’s Writer, Actor/Director Jean Atkin – Poet, Writer, Writer in Residence

Thanks to Birmingham Literature Festival and other Writers’ Network meetings I had already met many of the people on the panels.

Strand 2

Writing in Collaboration

Nick Walker – Writer, Performer, Producer Hannah Barker – Writer, Theatre Maker Mez Packer- Writer Rochi Rampal – Writer, Performer Helen Cross (Chair) – Novelist

BOA8I wish I had networked during lunch – but by the time all delegates had managed to be served the vegetarian buffet they already had to extend the lunch hour, there were several people I had hoped to catch up with and wouldn’t have minded talking to other writers – as I have at other events this year, there just wasn’t time though, and at the end everyone was tired, I spoke to Jo Bell and by the time I made it downstairs everyone had gone practically!

Strand 3

Managing a Writing Career

Jo Bell, William Gallagher (Writer, Publisher, Writing Tutor), David Edgar (Playwright) & Philip Monks (Chair/ Writer)

Strand 4

Funding for Writers

James Urquhart (Relationship Manager (Literature) Arts council England), Heather Wastie (Writer), Chris Taylor (New Writing South), Jonathan Davidson (Chair/ Director Writing West Midlands)

Closing Keynote address Stephen May – Writing and Quality


It was a fantastic day and I cannot wait to delve into my notes, I am however, exhausted and on tonight’s TO DO list should be;

  1. NaNoWriMo writing (1000’s of words owed)
  2. Preparing Poetry for tomorrow’s open mic,
  3. Extending flash writes for an event I am attending next week,
  4. Scheduling more events in the diary,
  5. and sleep.

If I am lucky I will do the 1st and the last and soon!




An Amazing Journey & An Amazing Day – Writers’ Toolkit 2013


My Amazing Adventure

(The journeys deserve a post!) open road The only thing missing was shark infested water and I am sure that is because we are the furthest point inland and have no waters around the city, except the canal.

I had an adventure getting to the Writers’ Toolkit today. 550px-Overcome-Lack-of-Motivation-Step-2 I got up before 7 to have plenty of time to catch the 8:43 train into the city. I had looked at 3 different routes/ lines and decided the shortest journey to a station was to go to my home town station, also other people I know were going and they were on the train. start time

It was icy, car needed a defrost, some drivers seemed to have mickey mouse licenses and I got stuck behind them all! I got to the station in time, there were lots of people on platform waiting. If I had parked there and then I would have made the train, (the true irony here is I was trying to save £3 parking…) To save myself the parking fare I turned around and pulled up on the street, all the street parking has been restricted since I last lived here. So I parked a few streets away and ran back DOWNHILL, along icy pavements to the station and the EMPTY platform. I had missed it by 1 minute I think. exit

Then I used the machine to buy my ticket.

It rejected all my coins imagesCAJBX1JQimagesCAJBX1JQimagesCAJBX1JQ(this was my cue to check the timetable, but I didn’t!) I loaded the coins back in and spent the fare. THEN I checked the timetable… an HOURS wait for the next train! That would mean getting into the city with 20 minutes to spare and most of that would be spent OAB3 walking across the city to the Academy!

I spent 40 minutes on the platform with (by now) FREEZING feet deciding on what to do. I should have just driven in! I decided to drive in (the train was due in 20 minutes) and I believed I could be there in the same time in a car?! I didn’t consider weather, traffic or the weekend!

All good to the motorway, then the low level foggy mist hit and I couldn’t see very well. Reached the city and then had to follow brown tourist signs as I had no idea where I was going, having never been to this place before. I then had to find parking, there were closed roads and one way streets. Incon I eventually found a car park with a day charge (more than the station of course!) as I entered there was a terrible noise, and as I reversed the bottom of the car got scraped horribly. I got out, the entrance had those metal plates that are supposed to go down when you drive over them and they hadn’t! I went in the exit which didn’t have the same barrier. Then ticket machine didn’t work – fortunately I found one that did (as the inspector was making his rounds when I returned in the  evening.)

I then had to run back to the Academy (I had 5 minutes, by train I probably would have just arrived at my destination). I went across country (literally) over the wet, soggy, muddy grassland! (My now warmed feet, now cold again.) millen

I made it in time for registration and signing up – but missed the pastries (my breakfast), coffee and networking. I did manage to spot my other poet friends, which was a relief! I loved the fact that today I had friends to be with – I am so used to attending these events alone, on the other hand it did mean that I didn’t really network or meet anybody new. Was lovely to be one of a row of writers’ though, reminded me of long lost days of university. OAB5 And I am happy that I have already found such a supportive group of people in just the past few months.

I made it time for the Introduction and first Key Note Speaker, so that was great!oAB And I had a fabulous day!

The return journey consisted on a round trip around 2 roads that took nearly half an hour in traffic and jams and jams with Christmas Shoppers and pedestrians crossing roads VERY slowly when the lights were on GREEN for the cars! It took a long time to get home and I am now exhausted!