Swanwick Writing School has been running for forty years - only a little longer than I have been aliv! - but this is the first year I've made it, and then it was for a pitiful amount of time.
Despite my best attempts to plan a brief escape from home as a day visitor to the School, mum ended up having a hospital appointment, and no-one else could fill in babysitting. Steve (ex-husband) came to look after the children in the morning, but arrived ten minutes before I wanted to arrive at Swanwick, which is half an hour's drive away. It was not the relaxing, stress-free start to the day I'd hoped for!
The welcome was warm, though, and people were friendly and helpful, even in the short visit I had. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures, too, though they only whetted my appetite. I wish I could have stayed longer.
Sue Moorcroft gave a great talk on Romantic Fiction - she is so knowledgeable about her subject and gave lots of fascinating information, including about the Romantic Novelist's Association. I hadn't realised before that it is possible to attend talks and events run by the RNA even if you're not a member. It usually means an extra cost, but not a prohibitive one. Up-to-date information can be found on the RNA website. I have heard good things about them from many sources, and will be checking them out again now, instead of waiting for my next crack of the whip at joining their New Writers' Scheme.
So, while it was frustrating putting my own dreams on the back-burner, the kids come first, and I gained a lot of benefit from a short amount of time at Swanwick. Hope I can afford the time and money to attend next year...and that nothing will get in the way.
I wonder what I will have achieved towards my writing dreams by then? Watch this space...