My point with this post is not just to say thank you to Madeleine and Vicki for their insightful advice, and to the excellent organisers of the SCBWI conference who arranged the raffle, but to also remind everyone how important it is to get your work critiqued. Getting other people to look at your work brings fresh eyes to it and may help to spot parts that are just not working. Family is not always a great bet - they might feel honour bound to tell you it is wonderful when actually it needs quite a bit of work, but it does need to be somebody you trust. As I said in numerous earlier posts writing is all about the rewriting and listening to others can be part of this process. I always warn my students that when I am marking their creative pieces I can pick out those who have not bothered to partake in class workshops. The pieces will lack polish. It is something I miss having finished my PhD as then I always had someone there to give me feedback. If you are not already in one I would suggest that it is well worth considering setting up a critiquing group (online or face to face) where you can get this sort of support. The SCBWI is excellent at pointing you in the direction of such groups if you are interested in writing for children.
I have to say the one to one was a highlight of the week along with a hilarious evening spent with my children and some good Australian friends. However, the rest of the week was not quite so successful. Let me ask you this, do you ever have one of those weeks when your head is so full of stuff to do that it explodes and you end up not thinking things through and find yourself irritating or hurting people? The rest of the week was like that for me. I just didn't think and it is the potential of hurting or irritating someone that caused me so much pain and stress this week. Probably stupidly but I really worry about things like that. The body is rebelling and the brain is struggling to cope with everything but it is a new day and maybe next week I will do better. What I do know is I will be working on Ham and Jam full of inspiration and drive.