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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Writers’ Conferences and the SAW

Some writers hate them, some love them, and some go because they feel they have to promote themselves as much as possible. Me, I go for the good company, the crack (the chat kind that is, not the drug), the stimulation and loads of other reasons. What am I talking about? Why writers’ conferences, of course.
 
I attend several every year, always starting with the SAW weekend conference at Erskine Bridge, which is just west of Glasgow. And for those of you not in the know, SAW stands for the Scottish Association of Writers.
 
Well, I’ve just returned from Erskine and I’m absolutely shattered. For there is one thing that’s common to all these events, and that is that they are lively and hectic, requiring loads of stamina and energy. But they are also stimulating and a good way of networking.
 
So what kind of programme did we have on this fantastic weekend. Well, there were loads of workshops and talks on every aspect of writing you could imagine. There was also the ‘Night of Drama’ where lots of the drama entries were performed by their writers and various ‘volunteers’, willing or otherwise. The speakers and workshop leaders were brilliant, and of course, we can’t forget the prize giving. That is one thing that the SAW is renowned for, the amount of competitions and prizes they award.
 
SAW Prizewinners 2012

There’s nothing quite like it. More than a hundred people sitting there with their hearts pounding, waiting to hear if they are among the prize winners. I used to be one of them, but now, with several books under my belt, I just go along for the company and the crack, not forgetting the networking. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a litter lout when it comes to conferences, and I leave a paper trail wherever I go.
 
Then on Saturday night, after all the awards and trophies have been handed out, there is always the disco. This year it was the ‘Shimmer Disco’ to reflect the 70s and 80s. It’s fascinating to see how many people have brought costumes with them, and the wondrous variety of those costumes, as they strut their stuff on the dance floor. There is another option for those who aren’t into the disco scene, and that is the ‘Poetry Penthouse’ where they get a chance to perform their poetry.

On Sunday there are more workshops, then in the afternoon, readings of many of the entries. It’s astonishing how many able and talented writers attend this conference.

Then it’s off home, stimulated, invigorated, and exhausted, but ready to tackle the next part of the novel I’m in the middle of writing.
 
http://www.chrislongmuir.co.uk






12 comments:

Ricky Bush said...

Sounds like lots of great folks were in attendance. If I ever cross the pond, I'll try to drop in sometime.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Lovely to see you there, Chris - and a very enjoyable weekend. But you're right. I was exhausted too by the time I got home!

Sheryl said...

I quite like the sound of the 'shimmer disco'. Sounds like you had a worthwhile time touching base with friends, despite the exhaustion. Less shimmering next time? :) xx

Chris Longmuir said...

Thanks for your comments folks, and if you ever cross the pond, Ricky, you'd be very welcome there. Everyone is ultra friendly. Oh, and I'm definitely not shimmering now, Sheryl. Great to see you too, Catherine, and I heard good reports about your workshop.

Linn B Halton said...

Love the crack about 'the crack' - made me laugh out aloud! I just want to know where you get all your energy from Chris.. you never stop!

SharonM said...

I'm still exhausted!

Yes, it is lovely to catch up with friends and share info, advice etc.

And I'd like to add a mention for Cathy McPhail and Joyce Holmes, who were excellent guest speakers.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

The whole weekend was brilliant, Chris! I'm still tired.

Chris Longmuir said...

Great to hear from fellow attendees, and I agree about the excellent guest speakers, but then all the speakers and workshop leaders were great too. I wish I coould have attended them all, but knowing me, it was the crime ones that had the pull. Oh, and Linn, once I recover from the weekend I really must investigate the energy issue!

Bill Kirton said...

I liked and envied it all until you came to the disco. I know when everyone's there glammed up and doing the moves (or whatever the correct term is now), it's lots of fun, but imagining myself glittered and bopping makes a blush rise and my toes curl. Nice post, Chris - your enthusiasm never wanes.

Melanie said...

It sounds like everyone who attended had a fabulous time. I can see why you were tired for a while afterwards.

Joan Fleming said...

Yes, it was a great weekend, Chris, well worth the few tired days afterwards.

Janice Horton said...

I too like the idea of a 'Shimmer Disco'! Great post, Chris.