It's been a crazy year so far: a very busy day job, beginning work on my new ghostwriting commission... and then there was a very lovely wedding and honeymoon, too.
But now, I'm back at my desk – both during the day and in the evening – and I am delighted to say that I've been shortlisted for a national creative writing mentoring programme, through Ideastap and the Norwich Writers' Centre.
Of the 270 writers who applied, 77 have been shortlisted and invited to a writing 'masterclass'. I'm going along to the Manchester installment this Saturday with Emma Jane Unsworth and I can't wait - although I'm a little terrified, too, if I'm honest. The masterclass will include writing 'exercises' and I've never been one for witty, off-the-cuff, instant genius. My writing brain is a slow cooker, where characters, scenes and themes are scooped off the scum over long periods of a rolling boil... Still, even if I make a complete fool of myself at the masterclass, I'll have spent the day in the company of other writers and getting my brain ticking, and that's always a good thing.
Then, from those 77, 10 writers will be awarded a six-month programme of mentoring with established novelists. This will be announced in August, and I am keeping everything crossed. It would be an amazing opportunity... confidence-building, motivational, network-expanding, a real 'take-myself-serious' moment. But I'm also not getting over-excited. There's a long list of names there, many of which are (apparently!) full-time creative writing students who may be looked upon more favourably than those who have to juggle full-time jobs. We shall see.