Effort and Achievement

I chose the title for this blog because it took me back to school days - I never used to get terribly good grades in either category.

But I was privileged to be asked to an event this week which left me thinking about the familiar old phrase -

Park school leavers.jpg

These are some of the award winners from the Leavers Evening at Park School in North Devon, and what a very fine group they were. It was a delight to come along, say a few words, and give out the awards. Thanks to everyone for looking after me so well.

What I was thinking about was the effort that we, as writers, put into such events, because it's by no means inconsiderable - and what we get out of them.

There's the speech itself, with was only 6 or 7 minutes, but took me several hours of outlining, agonising and then rehearsing to put together.

On top of that, there's the actual getting to the venue and the evening itself. Which, if you were to be a ruthless accountant about this writing life, you might question whether it's worth the time?

After all, these are hours spent not on your core business of actually writing, but something else entirely.

My answer to that is a resounding yes - it's hugely worth it, and some more besides, and lots more on top.

There was so much talent, youth, energy, vigour and enthusiasm on display that it was impossible not to be swept up in it (just look at the smiles in the photo).

And on top of that, for the effort I put in I was greatly rewarded. Lots of the youngsters told me how I'd helped them to aspire and believe that a great future was waiting out there for them, if they cared to work for it.

Their parents and teachers were incredibly kind and appreciative too. It was a joyful evening all round.

I came home elated and the buzz and glow have persisted, like a sort of invisible electric blanket of warming emotion.

So for writers, the bits outside of the core business may require effort, but in terms of the achievement... well, maybe I'm finally making some progress with that concept at last, albeit 30 years plus too late for my own schooldays.