Sunday, 25 March 2018

Scottish Association of Writers - Conference 2018

               Competition Winners from Erskine Writers.

Bill Daly                    Self Published Book         The Pheasent Plucker'               2nd Place 

Bill Daly                    Under 7s story                  'Damien and the Allian'             Commended

Rosemary Gemmell  Article                               'Frankenstein and the Modern
                                                                             Promethus'                                Highly Commended

Morag Moffet           3-5 min sketch                   'Mona Lisa and the Girl
                                                                             with the Pearl earings'              Highly Commended


After reading the blog and hearing accounts of those who attended the March 2017 SAW Conference, I decided that I would attend the next one.

Early in November 2017, I put my name down for the three day March 2018 Scottish Association of Writers Conference at the Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld. I also started working on submissions for competitions and finally sent in four pieces totaling 4948 words. ie nothing demanding too much work.

I am a dilettante at writing; it comes third or fourth in my list of hobbies, but I like to try anything at least once. I decided that even if I won first prize at every competition, this would be my first and only attendance at the conference.

In February I started to get collywobbles; I would be out of my league and out of my comfort zone; had I made a mistake?

At the Friday night dinner and during the welcoming speeches and competition adjudications, my worst fears were realised; I had made a mistake; this was one big party. Partying is ninth or tenth in my list of priorities.

On the Saturday morning I breakfasted with a lovely lady who was thrilled about her seventeen year old daughter Kirsty, also being a member of her Ayr writing group.

That evening, both mother and daughter were mentioned in dispatches during the Gala Dinner award ceremony. I reveled in my own inadequacy.

During the gaps between meals and workshops I walked the adjoining gold course; partly to enjoy my number one hobby; partly out of necessity, to work off some of those seemingly continuous sumptuous meals. I am normally a one square meal a day guy.

If, unlike me, you were a real writer, all the workshops would have been useful. However, the benefits of self-publishing, for instance, do not become apparent unless you have previously indulged in a bucketful of inspiration and perspiration. (And don’t forget the edit, edit, edit, edit and when you have done that, edit some more.)

The after dinner speech was literally a resounding success. It was laugh-out-loud funny and also extremely clever. It is no wonder that Simon Brett has achieved 100 publications.

I only started to become interested in writing as a means of creating memoirs; not for publication, but to leave to our three sons and six grandchildren. My final workshop was “Memoirs” and it was excellent. It was the only workshop where we actually ‘worked’. It left me with countless notes of ideas for improvements and additions to my existing hefty digital memoirs document.

An ex primary school head teacher from Inverness was my Sunday breakfast companion. He was expecting to drive for three and a half to four hours later that day to get home. That and many other conversations and aspects of the conference emphasised the enthusiasm and dedication of these writers. Writing is number one in their list of priorities and in many instances, right out of the ‘hobby’ category.

For a keen writer who also enjoys a party, the well organised SAW conference and get together of the Scottish Writing “Family” is the ‘not-to-be-missed’ event of the year.  

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