On blank pages and being inspired.
Just over six years ago, I wrote my first blog post for writing.ie. My blog was called Carry on Writing. My post was called ‘A Beginning and an End.’ If you’re writing/hoping/dreaming/gnashing your teeth, you should read it.
Back then, I was struggling. My days were a cycle of rejection and despair. I knew nobody in the writing community while everyone else seemed to know everyone. I’d never been to a book launch. I couldn’t call myself a writer because although I was, I had no book, no deal, nothing to back that up. As I say in my post, I’d written two “fiction novels” (as you can see, I didn’t quite have the lingo to impress!) and a memoir, of sorts. One of those ‘fiction novels’ (I honestly cannot apologise enough) was called The Girl Who Came Home. The blank screen I was staring at became the start of a novel called A Memory of Violets. Both books went on to become international bestsellers. Both hit the New York Times bestsellers. One won an award. Both are still selling very well today. I have five other bestselling novels and an anthology published since, and am currently editing my sixth novel.
Why am I telling you this? Because every writer who is published, who ever hit a list or won an award or went to a fancypants publishing party was, once upon a time, struggling and aspiring, staring at a blank page and – quite possibly – weeping into their eighth cup of coffee that morning. I was so that soldier.
I recently embarked on a new venture with two other writers who once struggled and sobbed at their desks. You know them as successful authors, Carmel Harrington and Catherine Ryan Howard. But I knew them first as women trying to get published. Trying to find their way. Trying to turn passion and dreams into words and books and readers and a career. For all three of us, the thing we have in common isn’t that we got published, but that we kept going when we weren’t. We created The Inspiration Project to help writers like pre-publication us. Writers who aren’t sure how to turn an idea into a novel, or how to turn a lack of writing time into writing time, or a lack of self-belief into belief. We want to offer the advice, insights, connections and support we were lacking when we started out.
Our first Inspiration Project event took place earlier this month and we, and our attendees, are still riding the high we left with. It’s hard to put into words exactly what 48hrs with 20 passionate writers was like, but if you’re interested in reading about it our recent newsletter is a good place to start. These blog posts from attendees Clare Daly and Tric Kearney also share very personal and powerful responses to the Inspiration Project weekend and what it meant to them, and their writing.
“I am still on a high, the weekend really was absolutely amazing.”
If you’re looking for an injection of inspiration, hope, support, direction and advice, if you’re looking to get started, to regroup, to start again, or to finish what you’ve started, then come and be inspired! Our next event takes place from 2-4 March. We have a few places still available and would love to see you there. Reserve your place now for a €100 deposit.
For more information, visit https://theinspirationproject.ie/ or check out #InspireMe18 on social media to follow the reaction of our previous attendees.
Hazel Gaynor is the acclaimed New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling author of five novels. Her 2014 debut, THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, won the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award and THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY was shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. She was also selected as a WHSmith Fresh Talent title in 2015. In 2018, Hazel will release her sixth historical novel, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER'S DAUGHTER, inspired by the true story of Victorian heroine, Grace Darling. Hazel's books have been translated into eight languages and are published in 15 countries to date. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children and is represented by Michelle Brower of Aevitas Creative, New York. For more information, visit www.hazelgaynor.com