Last week I was in Southampton at the Writing Buddies Fifth Anniversary Exhibition of Work event, which took place in Southampton’s Central Library (and a fab library it is too). The idea behind the event was to publicise the writing group (and perhaps attract new members), whilst also showcasing the group’s achievements during their first five years. As a friend of the group, they’d invited me down to join in their celebrations … and I also made myself useful by snapping a few photos, too!
It’s an exercise that I would encourage all writers to undertake on a regular basis … and by that I don’t mean taking over the local library and getting the Mayor to come along and give a speech, although if the idea interests you, then why not? No, what I’m referring to is the exercise of reviewing your achievements and putting them together in one place.
The Writing Buddies brought along copies of the books they and published (both traditionally, and self-published) and ended up filling two trestle tables with their work, and also filling several display boards with snippets and cuttings of their work. It wasn’t until their efforts were all grouped together like this that people suddenly realised what they’d achieved in five short years. Standing there, in front of the tables and displays, all we kept commenting on was that five years ago none of it existed!
If you can, set aside some time and collect all of your work that you’ve written and put it in one place: the dining room table, the living room floor, or the kitchen worktop. If you’ve had any books published, pile them high. Get out your folder with your cuttings or tearsheets and stack them up, and gather all of your notebooks together into one heap. When you’ve done that, take a step back and yes - take a photo. Capture the moment. There in front of you is what YOU”VE done. Print your photo out and stick it somewhere obvious. (And then tidy everything away again!)
Next time you feel a little despondent about your writing (because those moments happen to all of us) just look up at your photo and remind yourself of what you have achieved. Then pat yourself on the back. (And why not do what the Writing Buddies did and celebrate with a cake?)