I love living with other writers – not permanently, mind, and I don’t think I’d want to be married to one, but for a few days or a week it is exactly the boost I need. Whether it’s a writing retreats or a residential writing workshop, I love running them and I love attending them…
Being a writer is a lonely old thing to do. Being an expat, newish in a foreign country is even lonelier. Two reasons why I recognise the importance of spending time with other writers. I’ve always been part of a writers’ circle (get in touch if you fancy coming to the KL one) and run morning workshops, but in the last few years I have come to not only love, but need, residential writing experiences.
Seven years ago I attended a week-long writing course in Scotland. The teacher was great, and gave us all an ‘in’ to the world of publishing. I often say that a writer’s luck is dependent on the size of her network and whether she makes an effort to stay in touch with those who are in it. So, the fact that the teacher, the wonderful Anita Burgh, had published 28 novels at the time was a big plus. But the other students were great too. They came from all over the world and, sharing a love of writing, it was inevitable that we all had masses in common and a few laughs. This was helped hugely by the fact that one of us had a car and could nip out to buy us extra booze! During the next few years those fellow students became my support team. Most of us are still in touch, by email, through Facebook and, if we are lucky, in person.
Two years ago I ran a memoir writing workshop in Tuscany. Same story. This time I was the teacher and ‘connector’ of the group, but I still made friends with other writers. We all still support each other and stay in touch.
But last November, I was lucky enough to go to Phuket and join Summertime author (@ Home in Dubai) and self-published, award-winning, novelist, Anne O’ Connell, for her own ‘retreat’. This was a combination of classes and free time (and you need free time in Thailand when beach massages cost a tenner!). I didn’t even attend the classes this time. I went for the camaraderie. Again, we bonded. Again we had a good laugh and again we all left very inspired.
This year, come November and I’m heading back to Phuket, to attend Anne’s retreat and this time I am running a workshop of my own on the last day. I think it is nearly full now, but do, please consider coming and joining us. Trust me it will be VERY inspiring, supe
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