One of my goals when we moved to Ireland was learning to write. To actually complete a manuscript from start to finish. I came to the right place. The one thing this country does is promote the arts. Writers and writing are everywhere. In fact, up until very recently, writers did not have to pay tax on their earnings, that is how much they were encouraged.
I have done more with writing and learning the craft in the last seven years in Ireland than I did the previous forty in the United States. Ireland made it so easy.
The first year I was here I discovered Write Words, an online writing group out of the UK, that was mentioned in an acknowledgement of a book I was reading. I joined that and it got the ball rolling for me as far back as 2006, writing-wise. I was lucky enough to get in with a fabulous group of girls in the chick-lit group. This splintered off into a private group which still meets online today and sometimes in real-life and most of whom have gone on to be published.
I wrote and wrote.
How to Cultivate Writers
I read the Review from the Irish Independent regularly which reviewed books and interviewed writers. I entered contests. That is another thing: there are loads of writers’ festivals here with meet and greets and workshops. There is the Dublin Writer’s Festival and the Listowel Writer’s Festival held every year in Listowel, hometown of one of Ireland’s celebrated writers, John B. Keane. The Irish Writer’s Centre in Dublin offers all sorts of courses and lists all writing events throughout Ireland.
There are workshops in beautiful places and get-away writing weekends held in castles. There are meet-ups with published writers who are only too happy to help. There are the writer-in-residence series where the learning can be exponential.
Two Irish publishers, Poolbeg and Penguin Ireland still accept unsolicited manuscripts, which is just about unheard of these days. I have heard many a story of Irish writers being found in the “slushpile”.
By the end of my seven years here, I had written four manuscripts and had learned so much about writing in a short period of time. For that alone, I will never regret all the years I spent here in Ireland.