I was very honoured to be invited to judge the inaugral Open Mic event as part of a local writing festival last weekend. Dalkey Creates was a four day event, packed with writing workshops and art-based activities around the beautiful seaside town of Dalkey in County Dublin.
The Open Mic event invited writers to come along to Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre to read five minutes of their work to a public audience (and me as adjudicator). This is a daunting prospect. I know. I’ve been there and done that. It is, quite frankly, terrifying!
But seven hardy souls braved the stage and read wonderful, diverse and creative pieces of writing: short stories, extracts from novels and a scene from a play.
Of course, there could only be one winner on the day, but I would like to applaud everyone who took part. Taking that step away from the desk to share your words with the world is a very important one. Anyone who has their writing published in any form is inviting comment and critique (whether they want it, or not!) and it is essential to become comfortable with feedback in all its forms. Not everyone is going to like everything we write (Katherine Hale’s backlash on a harsh reviewer is a lesson in what NOT to do about that!). But while not every writing competition you enter is going to result in a winners badge, being part of these things, hearing what other people are writing, understanding what works and what might not, getting involved, is all a part of the business of being a writer.
I would absolutely encourage any aspiring writers to attend local writing events, to participate in creative writing workshops and to take every opportunity to meet other writers and to learn their craft.
Many congratulations to the organisers of Dalkey Creates. It was a very successful weekend and I hope you’ll have me back in 2015!