Gazing out of the window, I see grey skies, muddy puddles and a blustery wind, forcing my neighbours to grip tightly to their umbrellas and briefcases, as they hurry to work. For me, however, I have the luxury of tapping away on my keyboard, still wearing my fluffy pyjamas, no make-up and nursing a steaming mug of coffee. I love working from home.
But this isolation can come with a few drawbacks. I often go days without communicating with the living (I write fantasy, so I am in constant contact with the deceased!). My children do speak to me in passing, as they hurtle in and out of the house for school, college, or their lively social lives (me, jealous?). My mum is always on the end of the phone when I need her, but meeting people face-to-face can often be shoved to the bottom of the to-do list, especially when a deadline looms.
I momentarily forget how much I enjoy being sociable, as I meticulously go over my edits for my next release or type up my blog posts and newsletters. To remind myself that life goes on beyond my writing cave, I decided to sign up for a series of craft fairs leading up to Christmas. The beauty of being an indie author is the ability to slip under the radar of hand-made gift events. Although I don’t bind leather covers, or produce hand-made paper (how amazing would that be?), I am still classed as an artist with a home-made product.
On Sunday, I attended my first event. Sat alongside shabby-chic artists, organic face creams and hand-made crockery, I set up my bookstall, complete with pop-up banner, and waited for the shoppers to arrive.
We were blessed with a truly magnificent autumnal day; the sun shone brightly over the impressive setting of Sarehole Mill, the inspiration in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. There was a wonderful buzz about the fair, a true community feel. Some traders were regular stall-holders, and others were first timers like myself. The smell of home-made meatballs, samosas and cheese, wafted over the market stalls, and the laughter of children who darted across the cobbles filled the courtyard.
I didn’t stop talking for most of the day (no surprise there, I hear you say!). Yes, I sold some books, but more importantly I talked to people about my journey, why I love writing and where I find my ideas. People were interested in that part, and I enjoyed the interaction. It was a wonderful day, and I look forward to my next event in a few weeks.
I do love social media for networking with readers and fellow writers, but sometimes we need those face-to-face events to cement how passionate we are about our craft. That’s exactly what writing is – it’s a craft, and one that I hope I can continue to enjoy for many years to come.