Meeting Ducks and Making Deals

The lessons of writing are so often applicable to real life. 

As I will try to demonstrate here, with the help of my new assistant and friend, a Warwickshire duck. 

I met her (she didn't get a name, we weren't together long enough - all offers welcome) this weekend, teaching at the splendid National Association of Writers' Groups annual festival at the University of Warwick. 

I ran courses in the importance of a strong start to a novel, how to tell a story, characterisation, and journalism. 

Each was about elements of the art of writing, but could just have easily been about the ways of this wonderful old world of ours - 

We've all heard about first impressions counting. So it goes with writing.

Fail to hook a reader immediately and you're in danger of losing them.

Just like you would an audience, if you're giving a presentation and make a mess of the beginning.

Screw up your story, be it a joke, a pitch for business, or even an application for a job, and you're unlikely to get what you want.

Can't understand what makes people tick? That's going to be one big problem for you in life. 

And as for journalism, it tends to pull together all those strands, with an emphasis on the importance of clear communication. 

I've often thought I've learnt more about life, (and myself, come to that), from writing than I have anything else. 

And as for the duck? 

She was an example of the art of dealmaking.

I was sitting outside, having a sandwich, feeling like I could do with a good listener to air some thoughts to. 

She waddled over from her pond, fluttered those beautiful brown eyes at me...

I duly donated part of my sandwich, and she happily settled down to listen to my musings. 

We both got what we wanted from the negotiations, and came out very content.