A Gathering Of Like Minds

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.

Imposter Syndrome

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.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.