Room for a little one? Always at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School

There is always room for a little (or non-specific sized) one in this family; it is a family, a professional networking family of writers that I have been involved with since 2006.

Swanwick

The school has just celebrated its 65th year and it is still going strong despite rising economic problems. Delegates catch the bug known as “Swanwick magic” which may sound cheesey but is unavoidable. This magic is made by group meals where you discuss the day’s experiences, a wide range of courses and workshops that ensure any fledgling or experienced writer has the opportunity to develop their skill set, and inspirational speakers covering topics from the journey to screen (Deborah Moggoch & James Moran this year) to creating young adult fantasy fiction (Curtis Jobling did this perfectly after he stopped wowing us with his drawings and animations).

But the real magic is in the people. There are very few boundaries between writers – be that in experience, age or background. For a week you are simply a writer and that is the most freeing opportunity of all. I spend a lot of time with other writers at literary events etc and although there is a level of honesty about our work and lives, this does need to be built up over time if and when we see those friendly faces. Swanwick on the other hand is an intense week of relationship building. Swanwick is full of authenticity. Networking is done casually but with your annual return there are those that you want to see again and again. When there are 200-300 delegates you are bound to find someone or many on your wave length.

As a course leader and 1:1 mentor, there is a certain level of professionalism that I hope I adhere to. However, that did not stop me from letting my hair down at the last night disco or staying up until 2am talking with agents and writers alike. In fact I think this year, an early night was considered to be around 1am, and yes, I was up and at breakfast by 8.30am. Perhaps adrenaline is another part of the Swanwick magic! It’s also worth mentioning that even with all the teaching/mentoring I was involved with, I also started my next novel (2999 words on the procrastination free day) and worked out that I also want to screenwrite (more on that soon).

You will leave Swanwick with a notebook full of ideas, and iPad (or any other device…!) that won’t stop pinging with follows and friend requests, and friends that you cannot imagine your writing, or otherwise, life without. If you’d like to find out more about Swanwick, take a look at the website, follow them on Twitter, or like them on Facebook. The next Swanwick Writers’ Summer School will run between the 9th and 15th August 2014.

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8 thoughts on “Room for a little one? Always at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School

  1. Ah, Swanwick, where does one start?
    For me my first Swanwick in 2003 saved my life. That is not a joke or a pun or an underestimation that the impact of that week had on my life. I would not be here if it wasn’t for Swanwick 2003, the people, the atmosphere, the indescribable piece of magic that is the school.
    Like A R-H to try to describe Swanwick is not easy, in fact it is impossible and that adds to the mystery. Everyone, and I do mean everyone at Swanwick has time for everyone else, whether they are a massively published author with over 100 books sold in dozens of counties or a rank beginner with no experience at all, everyone is welcome and accepted into the family.
    You will find yourself at a meal, a workshop or a whatever talking to someone that you have never met before as though they were your long lost uncle, aunt, niece or nephew. They will be willing to share their experience and offer whatever they can to help you in your writing.
    I know that anyone who goes to Swanwick will be bitten by the bug and will want to come back for more, because once found, it is hard to drag yourself away from it. Your new friends (well, your new family now) will be waiting for you next year and you will do all you can to be able to go.
    Swanwick is the writing community you didn’t thing existed…….

  2. Great summary, Alexa. Your sessions were a great part of this year’s event for me. The Procrastination-Free Day was so effective, I’m thinking of running them throughout the year with some of my writing buddies here in Devon. And, like Vikki, your course gave me not only some story ideas, but more entries for my To Be Read list. Ex

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