Saturday, June 26, 2010

Talking about blogging at the Lowdham Book Festival

Today I went to the Lowdham Book Festival in Nottinghamshire. I took part in a panel discussion on "Getting Published" with other members of Leicester Writers Club: Chris D'Lacey, Siobhan Logan and Mary Essinger.

I encouraged the audience to take up blogging, not just for its inherent pleasures but also because it has many advantages for writers. A blog can build a following for your writing, act as a shop window to editors you want to commission you, act as an online store of your writing (magazines get lost; your own laptop can blow up when you have not backed up your files for month) and be your online writers' notebook.

The session seemed to go well, and the festival as a whole is an attractive event. There were bookstalls and marquees and it takes over various venues in the village. We were in the Independent Primitive Methodist Chapel.

Listening to the questions in other sessions, I noticed two things about amateur writers. They are obsessed with the idea that other people are out to steal their work (they are not: the problem is to get other people to read it at all) and they are convinced that presenting their work to editors in the correct format (if only the can find out what it is) is the key to getting it accepted. I fear there is more to it than that.


dreamingspire said...

Well I never... I though that the Primitive Methodists vanished when the various groups united (early 1930s?). My ancestors were strong Methodists in Yorkshire, not way down south like you were today, Jonathan - family background was the Primitives, not the London clubby style Wesleyans.

Chris Matthews said...

My family tree is full of miners and framework knitters from Notts who were Primitive Methodists - it was generally speaking the church of the lower working class. It's quite amazing that they built these little chapels given that they were down the pit for 60 years and would still find the time to work for the church, the union and even become councilors. Some would say pioners of 'education for all' and all that sort of thing. William Booth's salvation army a forerunner of the NHS? Giving to the poor if they are deserving or not...

Wesleyan Methodism is much older of course and think like dreamingspire said a more upper working/lower middle class affair of shop keepers, masons and skilled tradesmen etc. There's a very good book on the regional and locational differences of Christianity in the nineteenth century by a Leicester historian:

Didn't Howard Wilson once say 'there's more Methodism than Marxism in the Labour party? I know my family traditionally were always liberal and then labour voters.

Maybe Labour today could do well to reconnect with some of the above principles? I dunno.

Jonathan Calder said...

Fascinating stuff.

According to a handout I got from the chapel, this is the last Primitive Methodist congregation in Britain. The official Primitive Methodists did merge with the other Methodists long ago, hence the "Independent", I suppose.

Chris Matthews said...

Wow - that's quite something. I think it might have originated alongside the framework knitting industy.