The Hurst

Hello, internet!

Forgive me if this week’s post is a little truncated.

I just got back from a week-long residential writing course, aimed at aspiring authors who have started writing a book and need a bit of help ending it. It was an amazing experience. The tutorial part of the course offered a lot of practical insights into how to harness your talent and weave your story together, and living communally with twenty other authors for a week was an absolute delight. If any of you want to fly to the UK and spend a week in a country mansion, having your writing looked at by published authors, and meeting lovely people, then I can heartily recommend booking a course with Arvon.

My course came at a strange time for me, but in a way, also a very appropriate time. I’d booked a week off work to go and do the course, expecting to come back afterwards. But on the last Friday before I left, my manager called me into his office to tell me that he was making me redundant, along with half of the rest of his workforce. I wasn’t upset – it had been a long time coming, and the job wasn’t particularly near to my heart – and my excitement about the course stopped me from feeling anything else during the weekend. But now, with the course over, I find myself unemployed, with time stretching out in front of me, and not knowing how to fill it. I’ll be looking for another job, but I can afford to fall back on my parents for a little while, and thankfully they’re willing to let me.

The main thing that I took away from the course was a renewed confidence in my writing ability, buttressed by comments from the tutors – both of whom were successful, published authors – that my writing was funny and vivid and, perhaps most encouragingly, marketable. What they said was “go away at the end of the week and write more of it.” And with nothing else to fill my time while I look for a new source of bread money, I think I’m going to follow their instructions to the letter.

My head’s still swimming with all of this, and the memories of everything that happened on the course. The events of the week deserve a much longer post, which you can probably look forward to next Sunday. But it transpires that when twenty authors live communally in a country mansion for a week to discuss their writing, they end up consuming a lot of alcohol. And, in my current state of sorry veisalgia, my winesoaked and dehydrated brain isn’t really up to the task of taking all of the jumbled occurrences and organising them into an entertaining narrative. It will have to wait.

In the meantime, I’ll reiterate – if you’re considering a writing holiday, but don’t know where to start, you could do far worse than paying a visit to the Arvon website.

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