Saturday, December 5, 2009

Turning the Page

I am a writer.”

As of today, this is my mantra. It is also – I suspect – the war cry of a new generation of Scottish writers.

I have just returned from a Literary Conference: Turning the Page was a joint venture by Literature Training and Scottish Book Trust aimed at individuals who have recently completed postgraduate degrees in Creative Writing at Scottish universities.

I was already familiar with both organisations (Literature Training has been my homepage for several months now), yet never having been to any sort of conference before, I was not entirely sure what to expect. But as it turns out, the day was hugely helpful: it was divided into several talks by various writers and members of the writing profession, in which we were encouraged to think about our next steps into the big wide world of writing, in particular the fact that we must now think of ourselves as individual writing businesses – a frightening thought for someone who has only just plucked up the courage to use internet banking.

As well as meeting interesting and dedicated industry professionals with a lot to say on potential pathways I had not even considered, it was a chance to catch up with old colleagues from the MSc, and check up on their progress. Writing is such a solitary occupation, it is quite the event when a load of us are crammed together – especially when free wine is in the offing…

But to return to the affirmation of the beginning: I am a writer. At one point in the day, we were required to put our hands on our hearts and declare that – rather than wanting to be, or trying to be – we were writers. Tongue-in-cheek it might have been, but nevertheless it reflected the shot of confidence the whole day provided. I have a lot more to say, to do, to get my head around, in response to Turning the Page, but for the moment, I think the new mantra’s rather a good start.