Sometimes you get to create beginnings. That’s why I’ve sold my soul to writers festivals.
This week sitting at an event I’d organised, I saw conversations start and ideas begin. When it only existed in spreadsheets and emails, I couldn’t help but see the event itself as an end point. I was working toward the moment when the people who owned these email addresses would come together and talk. Then they’d leave and that would be that.
Except it wasn’t like that at all. Because sometimes, after hours and months of spread sheets and emails, the event isn’t an end but a beginning.
As a Creative Producer at the Emerging Writers Festival, I’ve organised a number of closed industry forums. The forums bring together key people in writing and publishing to discuss important issues facing the community and strategies to address these issues. The forums are called “Pay The Writers”, “Women in Writing” and “Queer Writers”.
Being in a room where things are starting, where new ideas are being forged, is the most amazing feeling. But then to know that you had a hand in bringing these people together is something else.
It’s been strange working on two festivals simultaneously. While my EWF events are maturing into reality, the 2014 National Young Writers Festival is very much in the emails and spreadsheets phase. On Wednesday I wore my EWF shirt and ran around and wrangled people and refiled water glasses. On Thursday I stayed at home (as an NYWF Director) and emailed and Skyped and created Google docs.
Despite the frantic, schizophrenic nature of the next week or so, EWF has come at exactly the right time. It’s a timely reminder that I am capable of this. NYWF will happen (just like EWF has) not in spite of the self-doubt and the anxiety and the sleeplessness but because of it.
If just one person comes to the festival and makes a friend or has an idea or falls in love then it’ll be worth it. And I know from experience that one person is an easy goal. All we have to do, as facilitators, is create a space for it to happen. Build it and they will come.
Working on festivals like EWF and NYWF is an act of facilitation. We don’t create the ideas or birth the talent, but we do provide them with a space to prosper. It’s about throwing ideas at each other to see if they spark. Pushing people in the direction of once another to see what happens.
It’s about seeing what you can start.