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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: (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-­‐  

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English language magazine for the French department of Deux-Sèvres