Coming out as an Author: Why Portsmouth’s Writing Community Rocks!

Helen Salsbury, whose debut novel Sometimes When I Sleep was recently launched, reflects on the publication journey and the joy of friends.

I’m an introvert. These days, you’re allowed to stand up and say it proudly! Which is great, because the subtle thing about being an introvert in a world of extroverts is that you’ve always felt a bit inadequate – like you don’t fit properly. You get scared when you shouldn’t, you sneak away from big groups, and the last thing you’re ever going to want to do is stand on a table, hoist your novel up high and say, ‘Look at me! Look what I wrote, guys!’ That’s not how I work.

So having a book published has been scary. It’s been a long journey of letting other people into your world – this beautiful, tentative, dangerous, moody, complex and passionate world, which you’ve crafted and recrafted over the years, until finally you’ve managed to prise your own hands off the pages and say, ‘Enough! It’s time it went out.’  Time it went to school, if you like.

But what happens if it gets bullied? What happens if it doesn’t make any friends? What happens if it just sits in a corner crying quietly to itself?

Oh, it breaks your heart, doesn’t it.

My book, my child – please be kind to it.

Which is why having such wonderful support and encouragement from Portsmouth’s writing community makes all the difference. They lift you up, they enthuse, they support, they come along to events and buy copies and tell you they love the cover. They even bring you flowers. Thanks Annie Kirby!

So, if you’re a struggling writer – and you’re looking for the thing more than anything else which will make your life as a creative person rich – just visit the Portsmouth Writers Hub, to find out about the many local writing events, groups and opportunities. Because however thrilling having a book out in the world is (and it is; it’s amazing, despite all the scary bits) the most wonderful gift of all is the company of other writers. It’s a creative heaven, a creative haven. And it’s full of talented individuals all too happy to share their skills.

If you want to know more about my book – which I know is what I should be telling you about! – you can read about it here or register for my online launch, on Saturday 23rd October, 6pm-6:45 pm where, although I won’t be standing on any tables I will be talking, one to one, with the wonderful Alison Habens about Sometimes When I Sleep. I must admit, I’m excited – because once again it feels just like having a good conversation with a wonderful friend.


Photos courtesy of Helen Salsbury.


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