MWIPCD – Writers Beware this terrifying affliction!
As I posted on Twitter I think I have multiple writer identity personality confusion disorder after this weekend. Novels, poems, short stories, screenplays or all of the above? And what about abstracts, journal articles, powerpoint and poster presentations, essays, PhD theses?
I had an amazing weekend at the inaugural Southern Script Writing Festival at Bournemouth University. As a staff member and graduate of BU (PG Cert Health and Social Care Education) I was able to claim the early bird student rate of £15 a day. This included all of the conference sessions, a buffet lunch and drinks in the break. What the weekend more importantly gave me was a massive confidence boost but also a case of MWIPCD.
On the Saturday they held an informal pitching session where you had 2 1/2 minutes to pitch an idea in front of an audience of delegates. I decided, against my better judgement and shaking hands, to pitch my NaNoWriMo Novel Idea. I didn’t get any boos (yay) and got some claps so I was pretty happy, though my hands were still shaking and my jaw was very uncomfortable for about four hours after (from the nervous tension I suppose).
So when on Sunday they actually had spaces left to pitch to some of the conference presenters I initially said no way, but it played on my mind throughout the first presentation (Be brave and go for it, what have you got to lose, dumbass) and I went back and there were still spaces. I booked myself into the last one of the day so I had time to mentally rehearse and try and remember some of the plot of a novel idea I’d started a few years back. I left the last session early to prepare and stood outside the door feeling an anxious wreck, having to resort to using positive self talk to calm myself “You are an intelligent, articulate woman and your ideas are as good as other people’s”.
The time came to enter. I had my notebook with me full of scribbles that I probably wouldn’t be able to read (and we were told in an earlier session not to read, but to try and recall it more naturally). I wasn’t sure whether to shake hands, I didn’t in the end. In the room was three people, not just the two I was expecting. I mentioned this obvious fact (!) and asked who everyone was; I like to know who I am speaking too (and this gave me time to calm down). The panel consisted of Tim Clague, Mike Garley and Dan Pringle. I was asked if I wanted to stand or sit (ummm sit please, if I stand I will most definitely faint!). Dan asked me not to read from the book and I said this was fine (they so got that it was a comfort blanket).
So I pitched my idea and then came the feedback. Tim put his head in his hands saying he needed to think about it before launching into feedback. The others tried to reassure me this was normal (I wasn’t too concerned, blocking out sensory stimulation like light can help me concentrate too!). I have to say they were very nice, I got some great constructive criticism about what I shouldn’t have said and what I could have said and they started arguing over a couple of aspects and coming up with visuals, which they told me was good. A couple of comments Tim made I’m sure were overgenerous but I’d really like to thank him for them as it was a massive confidence boost at a time when I was having huge writing doubts. Hearing things like, if you pulled this off you could have one of the greatest modern screen villains and in response to my suggestion that I just need to find time to write this alongside the day job and PhD he quipped leave them, write this. I wish…
So why have I got MWIPCD? Most of my experience with creative writing so far has been with writing fiction and poetry, although I did write a couple of scripts on my OU courses. I am halfway through a novel and have started two others but this weekend got me so excited about script writing that I now don’t know what to focus on (I like all of them). Then there’s the day job…if only there were more hours in the day and I had more energy to make the best of using them.
But despite the MWIPCD this weekend I got to feel like a writer and that was fantastic.
I will be writing more about the festival and some of the hints and tips I learnt next week.