At the weekend I attended the Scottish Association of Writers Conference; this is an event I try to go to every year as I enjoy totally immersing myself in writing for a weekend - attending workshops, reading over crits for competitions I entered, listening to experienced writers give inspiring talks and getting the chance to talk writing with writers! A bonus this year was winning 2nd place in the General Novel comp (for the first 10,000 words of the new YA book I'm working on) and getting commended in the Flash Fiction comp. It was the reassurance I needed that my new book is making sense and going somewhere...
Some words stood out from the talks at the weekend- one writer talked about the good sense of community that the conference had. It got me to thinking how lucky I am to know a lot of great creative people who understand and relate to the ups and downs of attempting to write seriously! The endless encouragement I'm lucky enough to receive from both friends and family really keeps me going through the rejections...which always seem arrive more frequently than successes:)
Another speaker made reference to creative writing courses. He spoke about a friend studying a highly regarded course only to find her confidence reduced to shreds (by over critical tutors), crippling her creative process, resulting in her being unable to write. This really annoys me when I hear things like this. I can see the value in constructive criticism but not to such extremes. If I went on a creative writing course I'd want to be challenged in a positive way - as in, encouraged to write outwith my comfort zone and have my mind OPENED - not closed.
Talking about opening my mind...you may remember in an earlier blog post I mentioned that I'd signed up for a '50 Things' project, where I had to send a list of 50 things for a stranger to complete this year, receiving my own list in return. Well, my list arrived yesterday (see the photo at the top for the first page of tasks). I'm really looking forward to working my way through the list (it won't be in order, though). I can already tick off a couple as I just went stargazing last month and I shall be heading on a trip overseas to New York at the end of April.
I'm particularly looking forward to watching the recommended films and also capturing my 'neighbourhood' in 10 photos. That one was weird as I had just been saying to a friend a couple of months ago that I wanted to either do drawings or take photos of my local town, to try and capture the beauty that does exist here. (as it is usually viewed as a bit of a 'down and out' place!).
Something else I found weird was the recommendation to watch a short film by an artist with the surname 'Huang'. A while ago I received a random email from an artist of the same surname (different first name), who had read some of my writing on my website.
Anyway, looking forward to trying some new things this year, and no doubt posting about some of them on here...