Well, I’m just back from my first ever visit to a S.A.W. conference.
The Scottish Association of Writers is a fine institution. Once a year, members are invited for a weekend away together, to catch up, to enjoy workshops and – if they want – to submit pieces of work for prizes.
I was adjudicating the Alistair Walker Trophy for general article, which was for features between 1000 and 2000 words. I had 48 submissions, which took a wee bit of time to read, but was an absolute privilege to be able to do so. People pour their heart and soul into the work they submit – perhaps even more so with the features, which are often drawn from the experiences of their own life.
I had a hard time choosing winners, but fortunately I had 5 ways to congratulate people, with “Commended, “Highly Commended”, “3rd”, “2nd” and “1st” prizes to give out.
The Friday night was a chance for folk to catch up, before the Saturday launched into workshops. Saturday night was the big gala dinner, when I was glad of the tie and waistcoat I’d packed, and we had the opportunity to listen to author Alex Gray chat about her crime writing.
I thought it was fascinating that a successful author now on to her 17th book still felt that occasional touch of imposter syndrome. Those of us in creative industries tend to doubt ourselves, and I thought it was a wonderful thing to hear someone at the top of the game still dealing with it.
It gives hope to all of us that it’s not a case of just feeling like a complete master after so many stories published – we all struggle with self-belief.
Join A Group
I know we’ve said it before, but it’s one of the reasons why I can see why it’s worth joining a local writing group. To share thoughts and work with like-minded people is absolutely brilliant. It helped Alex Gray, and it could help you.
Also, if you’re a Scottish writer, do consider joining S.A.W. – they’re a lovely bunch of people, and a weekend in their company will leave you feeling as inspired as you could hope to be.