Swanwick 2022 Day 4

“Halfway through the week already. Who can believe it.” I know that’s what people will be saying over the breakfast table this morning. Hard to believe, after all the planning, all the waiting, all the hard work, our time at The Hayes is already halfway through. This morning the heatwave warning from the Met Office expires and there’s a noticeable breeze in the lightly-clouded sky. I know I’m not the only delegate who, despite drought notices and hosepipe bans, popped an umbrella into their luggage before leaving home. So far this year, we’ve spent more time out on the lawn than we have inside, but it wouldn’t be Swanwick without at least one heavy downpour.


Monday’s Book Room volunteers

Yesterday began, as always, with Lift Up Your Pens. I am grateful to Bettina von Cossel’s triggers of one superstition and four of the six senses which pushed me to pen a creepy scene in a cabin by a lake that could make a decent bit of Flash Fiction. In Creative Non-Fiction we worked on dialogue; and I willfully ignored the exercise we’d been set in order to work on a piece I’m developing for a fast-approaching deadline. But I hope you noticed my attempt to put the lessons of the class into practice at the start of today’s post.

I only made it to the second part of Val Penny’s workshop on Promoting Your Work, but as always, I picked up some useful tips (plus a recommendation from Val for my own textbooks, which was most gratifying). We had another successful day in the Book Room (and the green-fingered among you will be pleased to hear the chilli plant continues to flourish).  I completed my traditional review of the past year’s achievements and wrote my objectives list for the coming twelve months (and anyone who knows me well will not be surprised to hear there are far more points on the list than is sensible or achievable!). The day finished with a fun Sing-A Long around the firepit, complete with marshmallows.

But the thing I’m most grateful for is the time taken to sit with old friends and catch up on the events of the past three years. I don’t do that half as much as I should. But I’m learning.


Gathering around the firepit as the musicians prepare

Tuesday is traditionally a quieter day at Swanwick. When I first came, back in 2006, most of the delegates headed to local tourist sites or shopping centres for an afternoon off. That doesn’t happen now, but the programme is still fairly fluid. I’m looking forward to a whole morning of writing before indulging in my first-ever gaming session this afternoon. This evening we have the Page To Stage performances: always a fascinating mix of the poignant and the hilarious. And the day finishes with the traditional Literary Quiz. I’m hoping our team’s literary knowledge is a tad better than our general knowledge. 

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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