Monday, 20 March 2017

Scottish Association of Writers Conference 2017

I'm just back from another wonderful weekend conference at the excellent Westerwood Hotel north of Glasgow. I've been going to the Scottish Association of Writers conferences for many years and actually won my first competition there way back when. This then led to my first publication in My Weekly since it was their editor at that time who had chosen my story as winner!

with members of my writing group
This year was as enjoyable as ever. Part of the pleasure is meeting up with writing friends from all over Scotland and each year we add new friends to the mix. It is still very competition led which allows members to enter different categories for which they receive a written critique - most valuable when adjudicators have taken time to offer constructive suggestions.

Although I've adjudicated a few times in the past, I was more than happy to relax and enjoy the weekend without entering, or judging, or running a workshop. However, I was even more delighted to support my talented daughter, Victoria, who was a competition judge for the first time. She was also first on after dinner on the Friday evening! She needn't have worried as she was every bit as professional and helpful as anyone else I've ever heard.

Victoria's workshop
Another highlight of the conference is the provision of workshops which run all day Saturday and Sunday morning. There is usually something for everyone and this year I spent Saturday at the following (after the remainder of the adjudications): Learning from Mistakes as Novelists from Michael Malone, The Pot of Gold in Poetry from Alison Craig and Writing Historical Fiction from J David Simons - I picked up a few gems from all three workshops.

On the Sunday morning, it was Victoria's turn and she assured me she didn't mind me attending hers - I couldn't resist the subject: Inspiration Everywhere. And it truly was inspirational as many of the attendees told me afterwards. She's experienced in delivering workshops to secondary pupils but this was her first to adults and I'm certain it won't be her last! We all came away with excellent ideas on how to creatively use what we see and how to build a story.

Of course the weekend is also about the eating and chatting and this year we were honoured to have Helen Lederer as our after-dinner speaker on the Saturday evening. Helen also kindly adjudicated the drama competition and she is as funny, engaging and approachable in real life as she is on screen or in print. Victoria managed to get a photo - it was Helen who suggested a selfie together!

It's back to reality today but I'll take a few days to absorb all I learned and enjoyed, as well as follow up any opportunities that were shared amongst us. Roll on next year!



Bill Kirton said...

Sounds just as I remember it. Ah well, next year.

Helen Pollard said...

Sounds like an enjoyable and productive weekend, Rosemary - and lovely to see your daughter going from strength to strength!

Maria said...

I'm very jealous just reading your report Rosemary, I love the workshops at these events.
Must try and get along to something in the next few months.

Joanna said...

It looks and sounds an absolutely wonderful event, Rosemary, and how lovely that Vikki was taking part as well and is enjoying such well-deserved success and recognition. xxx

Nicola said...

Great post. So pleased you enjoyed your time. One day, I'll get there :) Have a super week, Rosemary.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

It would be good to see you there, Bill!

Thanks, Helen - the whole weekend was inspiring!

It's always good to be in the company of other writers, Maria!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks Joanna - I was a very proud Mum!

Thanks Nicola - hope you get to at least one writing conference somewhere!

Rae Cowie said...

Sounds such an interesting and useful weekend, Rosemary, and wonderful that you participated in Victoria's workshop. I very much hope to attend a SAW conference - one day soon!

Carolb said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time, and I'm sure you were very proud of Victoria too. x

Patsy said...

Certainly sounds inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had tons of fun, Rosemary - well done to your daughter as well.

Maria Perry Mohan said...

Lovely to read about the conference, Rosemary. It's amazing to see our children making their place in the world as professionals, isn't it? I have a son and a daughter both at university and I am sometimes slightly in awe of how they have grown up and are making their own individual places in the world.

I think I'll have to discover your fiction. It looks very tempting.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks Rae - hope you manage along!

Very proud, Carol, as I'm sure all mothers are of their daughters!

It was indeed, Patsy!

Thanks, Suzy - it's always great fun!

Thanks for your lovely comment, Maria! It's lovely to watch our children become responsible adults with lives of their own.