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Gilly Smith


A lot of my mates spend this “down time” sitting on the beach, in the park, even going on holiday, and put it down to research. But they tend to be the fiction writers for whom simply going out of the front door can inspire a new idea for a story. So, although humble non-fiction write I may be, I’m training myself to get out more, to leave Google alone and search for new ideas for an article or book over a cup of coffee.

I try to justify it to myself; getting out of the house is tricky enough with my work ethic, but making a plan to meet someone who knows more than I do will almost always lead to earning enough out of the conversation to cover the petrol, car parking and latte bill. A writer’s job is to tell the world what people are up to, so indulging your passion, meeting the people who spend their lives immersed in your subject doesn’t have to be an act of pure hedonism on a Wednesday morning.

This week’s coffee was with someone who has spent the last ten years doing what I want to do in food and who, in the space of an hour, swapped enough information and contacts to help me pitch for a report (with funding), an article – or even series of – and a mass of ideas for the book currently out with my agent. Let’s hope that the breath of fresh media air is something that can help her in return.

Report proposal written, all I have to do now is wait for feedback, pitch for funding (a research job in itself) and then wait some more. Or I could see who else might be up for a coffee.


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