Last year, I was proud to be invited to the Cleckheaton
Literature Festival in Yorkshire. I ran two workshops – one on writing short
stories and one on writing for children, in the very beautiful old library
building there.

The best moment had to be when a young boy came in by mistake
– he was meant to be in the Lego Club! – but decided he was enjoying the
exercises enough to stay and write a story instead. But I also met some lovely
people and talented writers over the two days.

It’s a great shame that the organisers of this lovely event
weren’t able to secure enough finding to enable it to carry on beyond 2017.

But the best festivals should have some kind of legacy, and
in this case an anthology of writing from all the featured authors was printed
and it arrived in my post this week.

All writers will tell you that seeing their work in a printed
book – as opposed to online, or self-printed for editing, for instance – is a special
moment. It seems to give the writing a solidity that other formats do not.

Commercially-published novelists will also tell you that
these moments are a long time in coming. Self-published writers can, of course,
knock up print-on-demand quickly if they wish, but the traditional publication
process is slow.

So working on short stories and submitting them to
anthologies is one way to see your work in print more regularly.

I’ve been lucky enough to be in two anthologies from the
annual short fiction competitions run by Momaya and now this book published by
the Cleckheaton Festival

I contributed a short story called ‘Peacock Feathers’. I am slow at writing short fiction – a good short story can take me as long as the draft of a full novel. So it was good to see this complete and in print.

It made me remember that although writing can be hard work –
isolating, slow and sometimes thankless!
– it also brings with it some amazing rewards.