It’s not all about writing

Sometimes you’ve got to talk about writing.

What’s the news?

Things are looking up. #WritingCommunity #ABMorgan

In July I’m off to rub shoulders with some well known authors at the Beaconlit Fest in Ivinghoe (www.beaconlit.co.uk). I’m on the crime panel this year with Dave Sivers and Leigh Russell, with the lovely Alison Bruce trying to keep us in order as we talk about murder and mayhem. I’m looking forward to it as I quite enjoy the change from sitting in my writing shack talking to myself or the dog.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve hosted a ‘Plot a Murder’ evening in a local village pub, followed a few days later by a trip to a village hall to give a talk to some enthusiastic ladies and locals about crime writing. Five years ago I would never have imagined finding myself in such circumstances.

Many writers dread public speaking but the older I get the less daunting it becomes, and I’m in the swing of it now; workshops for writers, readings, local radio, book launches, author panels, and talks all give me a social outlet.

When my career was hurtling along and I was paddling furiously to keep up with the demands of managing a specialist NHS mental health team, I honestly believed I would just about make it to retirement before burn-out finished me off. But I didn’t get that far. Did I develop atrial fibrillation because of a stressful lifestyle? Who knows – but, whatever the reason, it certainly put the kibosh on my future as a nurse.

It has taken a couple of years to get used to not being a nurse, to referring to myself as an ex-nurse, and I still struggle with the loss at times, doing my best to raise a little awareness about mental illness through fiction. My new venture, becoming an author, of which I’m rightly proud, has taken me down an unexpected path in life. It’s more genteel in some ways, less structured, (and I certainly don’t do it for the money…), but the world of books is also a bit of a lottery.

Writing a book is one thing , but the rest of the hoo-ha is another. Marketing, publicity and finding inventive ways to elbow some room into what is an over-cowded market, is not for the fainthearted, or even for those of us with decidedly wonky hearts. However, it can be fun and certainly prevents a terminal decline in my own mental health. Writing is very therapeutic, try it.

So thanks to the organisers at Beaconlit for having me along this year. Hope to see you there. Alison

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