There’s nothing more enjoyable than a weekend away, and a weekend away with like-minded souls is always the best experience. So, last weekend I set off with a bunch of Angus Writers (some of whom have appeared previously on these pages masquerading as murderers) for The Westerwood Hotel and Conference Centre, Cumbernauld. This was the 48th Annual Conference of the Association of Scottish Writers (SAW).
The Association operates on a largely voluntary basis, with the indefatigable duo of Marc Sherland and Jen Butler leading a dedicated and hard-working team of Council members. Club development is a key strand of its mission – any writers’ group in Scotland can enjoy affiliate membership and take part in the conference and other fabulous outreach projects and competitions. The conference is a hugely enjoyable way of socialising with other writers and the competition adjudications and workshops offer a unique learning experience. If you can’t find a writers’ group nearby- create your own and get in touch with SAW!
Writing can be quite an isolated (and isolating) occupation, so the chance to mingle and compare insecurities is always welcome! Here are a few pictures of the usual suspects (they scrub up well) and one or two helpful observations about writers enjoying a bit of downtime…
· Writers always have lots of luggage. They will pack about 42 pristine notebooks which are ‘too nice’ to write on’ but don’t ask to borrow a pen, they’ll have forgotten to bring one.
· They can always pick the comfiest spot in the bar. Leather chairs/ couches will send them into paroxysms of delight and a fireplace? You won’t see them for days.
· They will always bring a laptop, carefully selected for weight, battery life and the ability to fit into a favourite overnight bag. The laptop will a) never see the light of day or b) be set up in aforementioned nook alongside a mug of coffee or a glass of wine. Photographs will be taken and Tweeted along with jaunty comments about wordcounts. Fifty minutes will be spent trying to connect to the hotel web server in order to check what the other writers are doing on Facebook. Coffee: cold. Wine: 3. Wordcount: Nil.
· Food. Writers need frequent nourishment ‘for creativity’ even when the most creative thing they are doing is playing with the curtains in their hotel rooms. Croissants and brownies are particularly good, and the Westerwood also provide a tasty chilled strawberry juice to improve brain function.
· Writers love a chance to ‘network’, and can be persuaded to stay up late with the promise of insider gossip. ‘Late’ will involve much comparing of books, discussion of wordcounts (totally obsessed) and favourite authors, and trivia quizzes where no one will be able to answer the literature questions.
· Time to go home? Check behind the leather couches. You may well find a missing writer, clutching a laptop and weeping. The prospect of returning to domestic life can be a daunting one after a weekend of productivity. Please be gentle with them…
Want to know more about Angus Writers Circle? Follow us on Twitter @AWCAngus or contact me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org