THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY More from local writer Alison Morton... Please see back issues of ‘The DSM’ if you would like to see previous articles.
You don’t want to be alone Sitting by yourself, in a spare bedroom, study, or even at the dining room table, and tapping away can be a lonely business. People wonder why you don’t go outdoors on a sunny day or wander into the village for a leisurely drink at the local bar or browse around the market. You don’t want to see, let alone talk, to other people. You are absorbed in your writing world. Of course, you need to get the word count or the hours in on your latest work – that’s understood. But why do you need to interact with other people? Ninety-‐six percent of people are not interested in writing or in your latest work, you mutter to yourself. You’ve often watched their eyes glaze over when you reply honestly to the enquiry about how your writing is going. But four per cent are interested and you need to find them. Why? • Your mental health – you are a human being who needs contact with like-‐minded souls • Learning from others’ experiences – competitions, agents, the ever-‐increasing number of routes to publication, conferences, writing and book events • Getting critiques from other writers – not Auntie Maud who taught English or your mate at work, but working writers • Learning new writing techniques and approaches to work – not just how to sling words together, but about characterisation, the senses, novel or poetry structure, research • Networking to make those vital contacts to get your book published • Not boring your nearest and dearest
Blood Dona)ons by Philippa George
Expats living in France can donate blood as long as none of the conditions below apply to them. Why give blood? 3 000 000 blood donations can save 1 000 000 lives a year. There is no artificial product to replace it, so it is essential that people give blood. The blood that you donate is used for most hospitalized patients from victims of road accidents to cancer patients. The blood you donate will be sent to hospitals all over the country. You should not give blood if: • You have lived in any of the Great British Isles for over 12 months between 1980 and 1996 because of the risk of transmitting “mad cow's disease”. This rule applies to any nationality, not just British. • You are pregnant. • You have given birth in the last 6 months. • You have been taking an`bio`cs for the last 2 weeks. • You have had an infec`on in the last 6 days. • You have had a taaoo or piercing in the last 4 month. • You have had a dental treatment in the last 3 days. • You have done another blood dona`on in the last 8 weeks. • You have had an opera`on in the last 7 days to 4 months. • You have had a trip to a malaria infected country in the last 4 months. • You weigh less than 50 kg. • You have diseases such as: HIV, syphilis and viral hepatitis B and C. For more informa`on and to ﬁnd out where you can give blood in your area, visit: www.dondusang.net (This is a French website and it can be translated into English).
So where are these fellow-‐writers? Starting locally, try and find a writing group. Look in the English language press and on online apps like Facebook. Ask anybody who has a faint connection with writing. Ask at your local book club. Have a chat to the organiser and go and try out such a group. The main requirements are a supportive open atmosphere, honesty and a lack of ego-‐tripping! Next are writing associations, usually specific to a genre of writing, such as the Romantic Novelists’ Association or the Crime Writers’ Association. They have events, newsletters, Facebook pages, websites, blogs – you name it! Even remotely, you can benefit enormously. Online critique groups like Authonomy can be a little daunting at first, but as you grow a writer’s thick skin, you’re likely to find it helpful and inspiring as well as immensely valuable. But you’ll need to plunge in! Going to conferences can be a real boost to your writing. There are hundreds of literary festivals each year in the UK, including more practical ones for writers such as the Writers’ Workshop Festival of Writing in York and the Festival of Chichester where you can meet fellow writers, agents and publishers. Moreover, you may hook up with another writer you can develop into a writing buddy, or more formally, critique partner. With Skype and email it’s no problem to discuss and work on writing together at distance. The writing buddy must be someone you trust, so it may take a little while to get to know them. Mine has kept me sane so they’re worth their weight in gold! And she will have scrutinised this article before it goes to print… Happy writing! Alison Morton writes alternate history thrillers, blogs about wriRng and Romans at hTp://alison-‐morton.com/blog/