Ahead of Women's Inspire Donegal, author Sharon Thompson tells us how she benefits from the strength and support of networks.
‘Inspiring’ is a common word used to describe Donegal author Sharon Thompson.
In the past few years, she has become a best-selling author, columnist, founder of her own writing group and leads a successful charity supporting the advancement of children’s palliative care in Ireland.
The Moville-based writer motivates others to pursue their passion and supports them on their journey to getting published.
Sharon will be sharing her own story at the much-anticipated gathering of the Women’s Inspire Network in Donegal on 10th April 2019. There’ll be something for everyone on this day of seminars and workshops, and Sharon’s talk is sure to appeal to local creatives.
Ahead of #WIN19DONEGAL, we talked to Sharon about how she thinks of her writing career as a business, how she overcomes challenges and how she reaps the benefits of online networking:
What are you most looking forward to at WIN Donegal?
Meeting the lovely people I’ve connected with online is foremost in my mind. The Women’s Inspire Network is a global group, and it is brilliant that such a huge event is coming to Donegal!
As a writer, if I need to go to literary events or book launches, they are always many hours away. This event is in our county of Donegal! Yippee.
I’m grateful to Samantha Kelly, The Tweeting goddess and Women’s Inspire Network founder, for recognising the wealth of talent and passion in the North West.
I’m looking forward to seeing Donegal women and businesses being centre stage. Networking and learning from others is good for those of us in isolating jobs and locations.
We are so proud of the supportive and warm atmosphere that fills our events, come to @harveyspoint on April 10th to experience it for yourself and you will not only gain knowledge to apply to your business but new friendshipshttps://t.co/ukLY60kHW5 #Donegal #womensinspire pic.twitter.com/LqZvgLnYop
— womensinspireIE (@WomensInspireIE) March 15, 2019
Writers and small business owners benefit from being part of a tribe or a larger support network.
Having events like this coming to Donegal is exciting and I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to speak in front of such accomplished business people from all over the world.
‘Writers and small business owners benefit from being part of a tribe or a larger support network.’
What key advice will you be bringing to the stage?
People always ask me ‘how did you start to write and how did you get published?’ There are no easy answers to these questions. I encourage writers to listen, learn and let themselves write.
On the stage on April 10th, I hope to inspire people to overcome challenges and show them that changing their lives is possible and I’ll cover how I became a best-selling author and found my own path to publication.
How has being a Women’s Inspire Network member helped you as an author?
Marketing, PR and expanding our readership is something most modern day writers need to think about. As well as writing a best-selling masterpiece, we’re encouraged to think of writing as a business and ourselves as a brand. This thinking isn’t for every writer, but marketing does interest me and thankfully I enjoy social media and being online.
‘People could come to the launch of ‘The Healer’ in their pyjamas.’
As part of my very reasonable Women’s Inspire membership fee, I used my mentorship time with Samantha Kelly to have an online launch for my second novel ‘The Healer’, on the 22nd of January 2019. My publisher, Bloodhound Books UK, is mostly e-book/kindle focused, therefore online promotion for me is important.
It is innovative to do a live, online launch, rather than a physical one in a book shop. Much as I love book-shops, people could come to the launch of ‘The Healer’ in their pyjamas and enjoyed the whole event without travelling or worrying about the January weather.
Interest was high as we trended on Twitter and ‘The Healer’ made it to #1 Best-seller on Irish crime Kindle charts! A wonderful result for me and for Women’s Inspire Network!
Women’s Inspire Network continues to make me think of writing as a business and is giving me the confidence and support I need. With ambitious but kind members, Women’s Inspire Network makes us feel safe, educates and gives us opportunities to overcome challenges. Join us now and sample the magic on offer.
Networking, for business and self-promotion, is moving increasingly online – do you think it’s worthwhile, and how do you use it to your advantage?
My life is mostly online. I am finding it worthwhile. I am a voluntary moderator of private online support groups which help families with life-limited children. One is for the UK based charity Together for Short Lives, and another is called Ireland’s Extra Special Kids. These private forums are especially needed online when a family is unable to leave their home due to their child’s complex and life-limiting conditions.
Myself and my husband also co-founded a charity www.TheVictoriaThompsonScholarship.com in memory of our daughter to advance children’s palliative care in Ireland. The work for this happens mostly online now. Fundraising opportunities are usually local (as Donegal is such a supportive county) but again websites and an online presence is key to charity work.
Writing wise, I co-founded a writing tweet-chat called #WritersWise to network with writers and reach as many readers as possible. This has lead me to set up an online writing group called #indulgeinwriting. Fee paying members have access to online events and support forums with established writers, agents and publishers.
Indulgeinwriting.com lets isolated writers network and learn from each other and we support each other from afar in our writing endeavours.
I also write for leading writing websites and magazines, like writing.ie and indulgeme.ie. Lots of online activity for me!
Local support is needed, but in today’s society, I feel that we need to think outside of parochial boxes and be willing to join in with bigger communities in meaningful ways.
‘You learn from those ahead or beside you on the journey.’
In my talk on April 10th in Harvey’s Point, I hope to cover more on how to build a writing life. Networks like Women’s Inspire or my writing group indulgeinwriting.com can support people who are hoping to overcome challenges.
You learn from those ahead or beside you on the journey. There is safety too in being with your own people and like-minded souls.
If you are overcoming challenges in life or in business, join us in Harvey’s Point on April 10th. We’d love to see you there and let’s show the power we have here the North West of Ireland and in Donegal!
Women’s Inspire Network Donegal – Tickets out now!
Tickets for #WIN19Donegal are out now on Eventbrite – with an exclusive 20% discount code for Donegal Woman readers.
Simply enter the promotional code donegalwoman at the checkout.