Getting Together With Other Writers by Allison Symes

 Image Credits:  Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.

It has been a busy summer. I’ve recently returned from my annual trip to the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. Back in June, it was a joy to get together with other writers at the Worth Our Weight in Gold ACW Golden Jubilee weekend. Both were at the same venue - The Hayes, Swanwick.

When I go to any writing event, what am I looking for?

I’m keen to learn from the workshops (and when I run them, I hope people learn from those!). But I’m equally keen to chat with other writers. I’ve picked up so much useful advice over the years talking with other authors over a well earned cup of tea. I lost my fear of networking on realizing it meant chatting about something I love - writing - with someone else who understands that love - another writer. 

The other positive thing here is no one writer can know it all and in chatting to others, you may well pick up something useful for your own future use. Sometimes it can be a case of a tip being useful to you much later on.

The other lovely thing here is you do have an instant topic of conversation and that is a great ice breaker. It has been at workshops I’ve found out about things like Writing Magazine, the Society of Authors, and so on.  And it is other writers who will share tips you probably wouldn’t get in other ways (or at least not so immediately).

I am grateful for Zoom for making events possible during the pandemic. What matters is getting together with writers even if you never step a foot out of doors to get to an in-person event. Why?

Writers as a group inspire and encourage one another. We all need that. There is nobody like another writer to understand the lows of rejections/not hearing back from a competition or publisher. And sometimes it is that writer who tells you about a publisher/competition you’ve not heard of yet you know at once this could be a good “shoe-in” for your work.

Also most of the time, we are alone at our desks. It does us good to engage with other writers. I’ve had fascinating conversations with authors who work in fields different to my own but I love hearing about their passion for what they do. It helps re-enthuse me for what I do.

So when you get to go to a workshop, as well as taking notebook and pen or a laptop, take along a willingness to engage with others. As well as helping them, you will learn too. Where you can’t go in person, use online events. Those have been a lifeline for me in the last couple of years. I’m sure they’ll continue to be too.

So yes, we need to write. We need to engage with others too. Workshops are a great way of combining the two things.

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