Thursday 27 July 2017

Don't Forget What Got You To The Dance

Writing got me to the dance. I need to be a respectful partner, and apologise for stepping on one or two toes as and when I stumble.

That's a clumsy metaphor, by the way. I'm not doing a whole lot of literal dancing right now.

It's the middle of the summer holidays. I have a knee injury that's keeping me away from the gym, but I can bend my leg enough now to fit it under my desk for more than ten minutes at a time. The kids are at summer schemes, so I'm getting a few hours a day of undisturbed laptop time. Mostly I'm catching up on admin-type things ahead of a burst of academic writing, exploring funding opportunities, and trying to finish writing a second Shannon McNulty novel. You'll meet her at some point in the future. My agent, Svetlana Pironko, is doing all she can for her. Watch this space for publishing news.

While I'm used to multi-tasking (or taking a scatter gun approach to my workday), every so often I have to remind myself that the most important thing is the actual writing, both creative and critical. And while blogging is less popular (or maybe less necessary) among writers these days, I'd still like to keep Crime Scene NI alive and jiving in some shape or form. After all, it was instrumental in putting my work on the Norn Iron Noir map when I started it back in... March 2008!?

I'd published some short stories back then, and had no idea where writing would take me. A little over nine years later, I've built an impressive writing CV, and I had a period of three years in which I didn't have to show up to the 'dayjob' at all. Currently, again thanks to writing, I only have to show up three times a week at the most. And I have a PhD. In English (made up of creative and critical crime fiction components). I also hold an MA in Creative Writing. Like, I literally have two degrees from Queen's University Belfast to rub together. I didn't even have one at the start of this nine-year twist.

So, basically, I'm a writer, I introduce myself as such now, and I've learned enough about the business of writing to know that there's a lot to be said for the security of a steady job. Hopefully I'll land a better part-time job that's more directly related to writing than the current one. That's more of a reality now than ever since I now have teaching experience. Because if I'm not writing, reading, or talking about writing and/or reading (i.e. teaching), I'm not really working. I'm passing time, waiting for the band to tune up.

Oh, look. Here's something worth stretching for:

Northern Ireland: Writing Crime Fiction with Gerard Brennan

This blog has been a patient and loyal dance partner from the start, and to honour it, I'm naming my eight-week, Belfast-based crime fiction course, Crime Scene NI (AKA CSNI). And it starts on Thursday 28th of September. If and when I start a writing podcast, I'll use the blog's name there too.

I want you to click that link above, so that's all the information you're getting for now. The course content is currently being planned out (I like to get started early), but at a tenner per two-hour workshop, I give you my solemn oath that you'll get your money's worth. And I'm friendlier than most of my author pics would suggest.

NB, I read comments, here and on social media, so if you have any questions about the course, go ahead and ask them now so I can start humming a tune and working out the steps.

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