It’s almost a week since my question “Anyone Fancy a Drink?” was fully answered, and I thought the outcome would be of interest to some of you.
My intention was always to have a few bloggers get together for a drink and a chat, not to host a major event. From that point of view, the objective was achieved.
Having picked Birmingham as a meeting point, I was stuck for a specific venue as I’d not been to the city for nearly 30 years. Not that I needed to book anywhere – I wasn’t planning on there being high enough numbers to warrant that. Fortunately, Shelley Wilson recommended Bacchus, which is directly opposite New Street Station, so an ideal rendezvous for travellers, especially as we ended up with people from Yorkshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire and London as well as the locals. That said, there were also possibles from Cheshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Somerset and even Liechtenstein (yes, seriously!), so accessibility was important.
In a sense, the fact that the possibles couldn’t make it was probably just as well, otherwise it might have become more of an event than I wanted. As it was, even with only nine of us there, I still didn’t feel I got enough time to talk to everyone.
As host, I was relieved to be the first to arrive, along with Esther. It gave us chance to find tables enough for the expected number and get drinks in.
Esther is a writer, editor and Writers Bureau tutor. I met her at the first Bloggers Bash and it’s safe to say that we got on very well and have a lot in common. She does a lot on her blog to support writers, including offering tips and promoting writing competitions.
The next person to arrive was Willow. I’d only met Willow once before, and the lighting in Bacchus is dim, so when she walked past our tables I wasn’t sure it was her. When she walked past us again a few minutes later and straight out the door, I assumed it wasn’t – until my phone rang five minutes later. She’d been in Bacchus: where were we?
So, we were up and running and this gave me the opportunity to get to know Willow better, which was the whole purpose of the exercise (to get to know others better, not just Willow!). Willow is a writer, mainly of poetry, but also prose.
As an added bonus, when she’d arrived the first time, she’d come across a gathering at the other end of the bar. Members of the Romantic Novelists Association and a group of crime writers had got together for lunch and a chat. During the course of the afternoon, we were visited by them a couple of times and business cards were swapped, an added bonus on an already great day.
Shelley and Suzie were the next to turn up, Suzie’s husband, Duncan (or Philip, apparently – take your pick!) in tow. It was quite a while before I had the opportunity for meaningful conversation with Duncan, but his contribution was very welcome.
Suzie promotes blogs through the Sunday Blog Share hashtag and the Facebook group Big Up Your Blog. If you want to build your blogging profile, get involved. I first met Suzie at the inaugural Bloggers Bash. She has a great sense of humour and is very easy to get on with.
I met Shelley only this year, although we connected online after the 2016 Bloggers Bash. We’d both been there, but there were so many people we didn’t get time to actually meet. Since then I’ve read two of her books and, in spite of them being aimed at YA, enjoyed them both – especially the one set in Nottinghamshire! Aside from her fiction, she also promotes self-help through one of her blogs (how does anyone run more than one?).
Next to arrive was Geoff. Always good company, he treated us to humorous anecdotes and observations throughout the afternoon. As a die-hard supporter of the Bloggers Bash, he’s a great asset to the blogging community. He’s also an entertaining writer, with a growing body of work that I can strongly recommend.
We were joined next by Sue. She’s involved with Book Connectors, a Facebook group for authors and book bloggers. This group also arranges meet ups, and I’d met Sue at two of these events. She is an author and book blogger. She’d seen my blog post and been among the first to express an interest. As she only knew me, I’d anticipated needing to make introductions and putting her at ease, but needn’t have worried. She seemed to settle in very quickly and was deep in conversation within minutes.
It’s interesting that, of those who were there, several were involved in other aspects of promoting bloggers and/or writers. This seems to me to be a common theme with this kind of gathering. You don’t necessarily meet all the movers and shakers, but you are more likely to meet people willing to help because they like to be involved.
Everyone who came along seemed to enjoy it, though they may tell you otherwise. For me, I just wanted to get together and have a drink with friends, and I did. But I also reinforced some relationships with people who will support me and who I’ll enjoy supporting. I had a laugh, learned a bit, drank (a little), ate good food and, by accident, got to meet some other writers who weren’t even connected to our group. What’s not to like?
Although no plans are in place for a similar meeting, I’m sure I’ll do it again before too long. I hope I’ll get to see more you when I do.