There were times over the weekend where I felt overwhelmed. But this was in a good way.
I was at the York Festival of Writing where I was invited by Kate Allan to give a talk on um, making money from writing. Not many people there seemed to think this was possible. But then I was talking about a different kind of writing - non-fiction, journalism, copywriting - you name it - not fiction.
I don't see why the two have to be mutually exclusive and I came away from the event the most determined I have ever been to make a go of a novel.
Listening to bestselling novelist Katie Fforde explaining how she was rejected for seven years by Mills & Boon, that 'writing shouldn't read like writing' and that by working at your craft and persevering were the keys to success was quite something.
Picking up straight-talking tips from Lorella Belli about how best to persuade an agent to succumb to your charms through a professional attitude and a compelling voice was fantastic.
I could go on. These were the highlights for me of the workshops laid on. I hope you don't mind me mentioning that my own workshop was also well-received as attendees burst into applause and paid me some very kind compliments!
There were other elements that weren't quite up my alley but proved perfectly popular for other people and there was disappointment reported by some aspiring authors about their much anticipated "one to one" sessions.
But overall it was one hell of a weekend. I never dreamed I would find myself in the same room as a bloke who signed JK Rowling or who had worked with Roald Dahl but Barry Cunningham had done both - telling "Jo" she'd never make any money from children's fiction and inspiring the creation of Mr Twit thanks to a long-since pruned beard which once looked like it could camouflage a small country.
I also met some brilliant aspiring and new authors whose willingness to not only confess they called themselves writers but whose vivid imaginations and passion for what they were doing bowled me over.
I'd been worried about feeling like an outsider and to some extent I did as I watched various earnest or energetic performance artists attempt to wow us with their prose but some of the people I met made me feel at home.
Emma Martin had self-published a "bonkbuster" called Racy, set against a backdrop of North Yorkshire horse racing, so far selling a respectable 2,500 copies. Mary Lewis Stevenson from Glasgow had penned a 'girl power' tale of revenge called the Stocking Exchange which made me gasp in admiration and snippets from magistrate Sarah' Wastaff's Leap of Faith made me chuckle. Both ladies were cracking good company.
Adrian Hull had set a children's adventure in the shadow of Hadrian's Wall and Annette said she hoped to be a cross between Roddy Doyle and Marian Keyes in her Manchester based family comedy.
So it was fantastic to meet them and I hope we can keep in touch to spur each other on. The plan is that in a couple of years we can jet back in via helicopter with an ex Chippendale at the joystick.
Is joystick the right word?
Oh who cares. See you there.