Wednesday, 27 September 2017

ScotsWrite17 Conference

Well, what a fabulous weekend conference we had at the excellent Westerwood Hotel just north of Glasgow. The Society of Authors in Scotland pulled out all the stops, with generous support from Creative Scotland among others, to make ScotsWrite17 a resounding success.

From Friday dinner until Sunday afternoon, it was non-stop with inspiring speakers, very helpful break-out sessions, one-to-ones with agents and publishing editors and even a few wellbeing opportunities. The whole weekend followed the Japanese concept of Ikigai, meaning 'a reason for being' with its four themes: passion, profession, mission and vocation - all necessary to writers.

The four keynote speakers, Joanne Harris, Jane Johnson, Charlie Higson and Joanna Penn wowed us with their empowering talks while break-out sessions gave us many choices including Denise Mina, Caro Ramsay, Jane Johnson, Francesca Main (Picador), Joanna Penn and Sally Polson (Floris). Some were so popular that numbers were limited and we were forced to try something else - not a bad idea as it turned out.

I decided to make use of the wellbeing aspects of the weekend as an enhancement to creative talks and sessions. Caro Ramsay is a highly sought-after Osteopath as well as a crime writer (and very entertaining) and she explained how an ergonomic workspace should lead to pain-free writing, especially with using our core muscles and keeping the monitor at the correct height. There was much more but probably a bit rushed in the time limit to take it all in.

I've long wanted to try Tai Chi so I managed to get to the morning class before breakfast both mornings and I loved it - it's such a gentle form of exercise and wakens up the body. As music affects me deeply, the soothing ethereal notes were a bonus and made it quite a moving experience. We even had CPR training available in another room throughout the Saturday from a doctor involved with Save a Life Scotland. An excellent 'drop-in' idea which only took five minutes of our time and might help someone one day.

Apart from the excellent food, meeting old and new friends, non-stop chat and learning, there was a special Botanist Gin-tasting session before dinner on the Saturday. One of my friends would have appreciated this more than I did, but I noticed it was well-attended! Much more my kind of thing was the ceilidh after dinner on the Saturday evening, with a live Scottish band. Great fun, though an hour of riotous Scottish dancing was enough for me after such a full-on day.

Even on Sunday, we had Joanna Penn's fabulous keynote talk, followed by two break-out sessions of 50 minutes each, then after lunch we ended with an 'Insider Secrets' panel of speakers. A great way to end such a memorable conference.

I'll try and give you a flavour of two of the most sessions in subsequent posts as they are so interesting and deserve their own space: Floris Books and Joanna Penn.

Now to put all that inspiration into practice!



Wendy's Writing said...

No wonder you needed the Tai chi after such a busy weekend, Rosemary. It sounds great.

Teresa Ashby said...

It sounds like a wonderful and varied weekend. I'm looking forward to reading more about it :-)

Patsy said...

I'm glad you had a good time.

Melanie said...

I had a wonderful time at the conference. Looking forward to more. It was great to finally meet you in person!

Rae Cowie said...

It was wonderful to catch, Rosemary and I agree it was a truly inspiring conference. Interesting, friendly, fun - hard to choose one word to sum up such a terrific weekend.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Loved every minute, Wendy!

It was so much to take in, Teresa, that I'm still trying to process it!

Thanks, Patsy!

So pleased you made across with Don, Melanie - lovely to meet you both and you looked great.

It was indeed, Rae - so pleased you managed down!

Carolb said...

Sounds like it was a very busy but interesting event, Rosemary, especially the well-being part. :-)

Joanna said...

What a wonderful event, Rosemary! So full and varied, and with such inspirational speakers too. Looking forward to hearing more about those. I expect the Tai chi was very welcome, and the CPR training was a brilliant idea. SO glad you had a fantastic time xxx

Rosemary Gemmell said...

It was indeed, Carol - hope they do it again!

Thanks, Joanna - it really was a bit different from other conferences and so inspiring!