The Two Faces of a Writer

These days a writer’s life has dual aspects:

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Looking out and looking in!

You spend a lot of your time on your own, hunched over the computer or your notepad. Your only companions are your characters – people you’ve made up in the first place! They have adventures, relationships; they mess up their lives, make all the wrong decisions, and you are the overlord, the architect. But not the participant. The only voices you hear, the only conversations you have are in your imagination, and you have to supply both sides! It helps to like solitude, and be something of an introvert.

On the other hand, a writer nowadays needs to be ‘out’ there, meeting readers, attending literary festivals, giving workshops, talks. They need to be an extrovert.

Last week was one which exemplified that dilemma for me. In the early part of the week, I was closeted with my manuscript, rereading, rewriting. Me and Ollie, me and Louise, me and Flo, me and Jess: me and my characters.

In the second half of the week, I was at two events which required my best extrovert self. The first was the launch of the Worcestershire Litfest, up on stage in the magnificent Guildhall, announcing the winners of the 2015 Flash Fiction competition.

The following day I was at the open mic event in Evesham as part of the AsparaWriting Festival. I’d organised the event – the first of its kind in Evesham – and was on tenterhooks, as I so wanted it to go well. And it was BRILLIANT! We heard a wonderful mix of poetry and prose – writing to make you laugh, writing to make you cry, writing to make you think. There was a wonderful buzz and energy in the room. We were lucky enough to have not only Fergus McGonigal, the outgoing Worcestershire poet laureate as our MC – and what an amazing job he made of it – but also the new poet laureate, only chosen the night before, Heather Wastie, who jetted in for her first event in her new role.

Me and the two poet laureates!

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6 Comments

  1. Polly says:

    It was great to see everyone, old and new friends, at the very first Evesham Asparawriting spoken word event. Well-organised with thoughtful, playful and different writing and writers. Thanks for the invite – I’ll come to the next one 🙂

  2. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Polly, and thanks so much for taking part.

  3. gulara says:

    It’s great when two aspects of writing life come together in such a balanced way.

  4. Lindsay says:

    You’re right, Gulara – the two aspects are not in opposition, but complement each other

  5. Linda says:

    Well done on your writing and the event, it all sounds a wonderful balance. We readers love to see what dilemmas you put your characters through, sometimes authors can be so cruel to them, that we end up sobbing with them, other times we are laughing or empathising.
    Fictional characters? Not while I am reading! They become my friends, and I feel a NEED to know what happens to them!
    Of course, we librarians just sit and drink coffee all day, according to the students. There is mo networking with the “social” half of an authors life, and according to students ….we never meet!
    Keep up the good work Lindsay, whichever side of your author life you are in. We readers love you!

  6. Lindsay says:

    How lovely! Thank you so much for such a great comment, Linda. Authors love readers too!

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