The Last Word


I’ve been talking a lot about SAW the Scottish Association of Writers conference I was invited to recently, and it’s a mark of the impression it made on me. But while I’ve been looking at it from my own perspective as adjudicator, I think it’s worth mentioning the impact it seemed to have on the writers themselves.

There were around 150 delegates there and the place was buzzing! The conference offered workshops on all aspects of writing I conducted one on character building in your writing and I was overwhelmed when I had 40 jostle into the room, twice the expected 20! But once we settled down to work, the ideas flowed thick and fast as they threw themselves into the various exercises. And my workshop was typical of all the others that took place over the weekend.

Not everyone was a short story writer, of course; the competitions, workshops and talks covered poetry, drama, features, short stories, novels, children’s fiction and flash fiction. What I particularly enjoyed was seeing how chuffed the winners of the various categories were as they were announced, and the respect and appreciation shown to them as they read out their prize-winning work.

Without fail anyone I spoke to was having a terrific time and relishing the unique opportunity to mix with completely like-minded people. “Inspiring” was the most used description of the weekend. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing enthusiastic huddles of folk talking earnestly, exchanging notes, jotting down comments and story ideas!

But I saw a lot of laughter, too, so if ever you’ve wondered what a writing conference is all about and whether it’s right for you, I’d say give it a whirl. I’ve already been invited back for next year.and I didn’t hesitate in saying “Yes, please!”