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Magpie Mind

The Quickening – a day in the life of an author

On 25th of April, Laura Fyfe joins 44 King St to launch her new book and pilot new workshops for emerging creative writers! You can book you tickets here Below, Laura tells us a little about the journey…

Just this morning, I’ve been promoting the launch on social media, squabbling with my domain provider and website host about who needs to fix the accessibility problems to www.figmentpublishing.com, as well as double-checking the pre-order links with Amazon and linking Magpie Mind in to my Author Central page. 

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the quickening.

Putting the book together, the researching, writing and the editing, is a fairly leisurely, contemplative process. Until a deadline looms, of course. But now, now everything’s going lightening quick. 

I’m waiting on the books coming back from the printer. There’s a bottle of whisky in it for them if they can get the first print run to me without any faults. For Wellspring,the first print run was pretty squint and there were problems getting the margins for the spine accurate. To be fair, these are particularly difficult for a large printing press to handle with a small, A6 book. But still, the mistakes cost me a delay in Wellspring’slaunch – something I can’t afford with Magpie Mind, given the fact I’ve been lucky to book in some heavy-hitting involvement.

And that’s where being a self-published author comes into its own. Being a writer can be a pretty solitary existence. Writers tend to be a pretty introverted lot, so that tends to suit us. But, however introverted you may be, all that alone time can be – well – lonely.

For the last eight years, since setting up Figment Creative Expression (initially just writing workshops), I’ve learned a huge amount, all of which I’m putting together now for this launch. Being a business woman (kind of), as well as a writer, has forced to me venture out of my comfort zone and I count myself lucky to have met many, many interesting people over those years. 

I met Joe Hall, head of Creative Stirling, at the same time I was setting up Figment. We’ve kept in contact over the years, and now we’re working together, alongside Ruth Currie (of the Place Partnership Project), on  this launch, as well as other projects that may very well help writers in the Forth Valley. Through establishing the Forth Valley Writers Collective, a networking group to discuss the needs of writers in the Forth Valley, I refreshed my connections with Liz Moffat, of Stirling Council’s Library Services, and Elizabeth Rimmer, and Ian Maxtone, and Sally Evans and Janet Crawford and Frances Ainslie. So many wonderful people that it’s always a delight to see and speak with.

The two biggest contributors to Magpie Mind, I met through the Figment workshops: Rachel Kay, who typeset and helped me design the two books, I met while she was finishing her Masters in Publishing. I met Caroline Carmichael, Magpie Mind’s illustrator, at one of the first (was it the first?) networking event I’d ever been to, at Stirling Enterprise Park. She sent her husband, Duncan to a Figment workshop, and he was one of the contributors to Wellspring.

It’s funny how things change. Through my involvement in the writing scenes in central Scotland, I’ve made so many friends, many of whom I’ve thanked in Magpie Mind. Through studying the MLitt, at the University of Stirling, I met not only Liam Bell and Chris Powici, but Janice Galloway, who has levelled me not only with her writing, but with her benevolence. 

Charlie Gracie, a wonderfully insightful poet who lives in Thornhill, invited me to be a part of the Scottish Writers’ Centre and I’m now a Director of the board there. Through that, and, indirectly, through a Lapidus event with Larry Butler, I met and spoke with Tom Leonard. He asked me to read a poem to him as well – of my own. Imagine! There’s a bigger and more amusing story there, by the way, involving a bit of swearing and cringing, as so many Tom Leonard stories do. 

Both Leonard and Galloway, these giants of Scottish literature, who I studied and marvelled at in University, I am still amazed to say, contributed to Magpie Mind.

I don’t think there’s any way of being a writer now – with any measure of success – without being an active part of a thriving community.  It’s being a part of a team, it’s having contacts and friends to draw on and learn from that make everything possible. It’s because I’m so grateful to my friends and colleagues that I feel so strongly about bringing writers together – so we can support each other. It’s because I feel so lucky to have worked with so many writers and creative professionals, that I feel the honour, and the responsibility, to do them proud on the 25thof April. 

For now, though, I’m back at the desk. Because while it’s fun to go out and meet so many inspiring people, while it’s exhilarating to be at the eye of a storm of organisation, what a writer really needs is some alone time to reconnect with the most important thing. Writing. 

If you’d like to pre-order your copy of Magpie Mind to collect at the launch, you can do so at at www.figmentcreativity.com

Or to be posted out to you after the 25thof April, order on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2uZzU61

Remember to book your ticket to the launch, for the chance to drink some wine, socialise with other writers, nibble some tasty things, and to be inspired by Janice Galloway and other wonderful writers as they tell us where on earth they get their ideas from:  https://bit.ly/2uRPSiI