How I Used the Busybird Creative Fellowship: Angus Watson

Busybird Creative Fellowship winner 2016, Angus Watson

When I applied for the Busybird Creative Fellowship, I had just finished the first draft of my novel. I didn’t know much about styles, grammar, or even the industry.

But I had a 90,000-word novel, which I thought the world of.

I attended Busybird’s Open Mic nights (I urge everybody to do the same, even if you don’t want to read!) which provided a nurturing environment. I was encouraged by everyone I met, and so decided to put my name forward for a year of mentoring, a hot desk, and free attendance to in-house workshops.

In December 2015, I was granted the 2016 Busybird Creative Fellowship.

By January 2016, the 90,000 words of my novel had turned into 40,000.

This wasn’t done as one might expect, through vicious slashing and personal loss as characters ceased to exist, but rather by learning how to better tell my story. Even though I had cut more than half the word count, I had enhanced the overall story arc, smoothened the flow, and made my characters more real and interesting. It was still my story. I learned how to do all this and more through the mentoring of Busybird’s staff and the many in-depth workshops they run.

At the end of the Fellowship, my skills had increased, yes, but what I found equally valuable, was that I now had conviction. How to improve my writing. What the next step was. And where I realistically wanted to aim.

Using Busybird’s contacts, I have since started a writing group functioning at the Eltham Library. We meet regularly to workshop and provide feedback on each other’s writing, discuss our projects, and help one another grow.

I wouldn’t have had the confidence or contacts to facilitate such a writing group, nor the skills and knowledge to be a contributing member. The Busybird Fellowship has created a solid base for where I hope my writing might take me, and I encourage everyone considering applying to do so!

One response to “How I Used the Busybird Creative Fellowship: Angus Watson

  1. So good to hear from Angus. He is also giving back to the community – no doubt inspired by the work of the mentors at Busybird. Writers need encouragement as they go through the ebbs and flows of their ideas.

    Although I’d like to apply, I don’t have a finished manuscript but to anyone out there who is keen to pursue their dream it’s a wonderful challenge to try to win and receive great mentoring.

    I’ve often attended the mike night. Wonderful to meet other authors at any level of writing and also to hear some excellent literature

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