Reflections on Swanwick #Swanwick65

Well I’m home! Lol

As you can imagine this past week has given me a lot to think about, and when I got home my feedback on “Tangled” from the RNA New Writers scheme was sitting on my desk. I haven’t had time to go through it all yet, so I’ll post about that next week πŸ™‚

So where do I start?

I love Swanwick, but it’s always nice to get back. I’m a real homebird at heart and I feel incredibly lucky when I hear writers at the school say its so nice to be around people who they can talk to about their writing. The Hubster is very supportive and I realise that there are many writers out there who don’t have someone who is prepared to read their work out loud to them (for example) to help edit it.

I really do value every moment I’m there, but, it is incredibly exhausting and it’s only a couple of days before I start falling asleep in lessons 😦 (my apologies to any tutors who may be reading this who noticed me dropping off). I’m ok if I have to participate, but if I’m listening to a talk, it doesn’t matter how interesting it is, I’m dropping off (this is what happens when you only have 5 hours sleep a night!). I think the only night I was up past 11pm was on the Buskers night! 😦 Even if I do stay up, I’m still up between 5 and 6 so even more nodding goes on the next day *sighs*

Being a Steward the past couple of years I find myself talking to lots of newbies, aka “white badgers” and I was amazed to hear this year the amount of people say they will be back next year but will only do 2 or 3 days, because…’s exhausting. One lady said to me that she couldn’t afford Swanwick and a holiday, so this was her holiday this year. She was disappointed that she didn’t get any free time, and felt a complete wreck! Yes, I know we always say…. “you don’t have to do everything on the programme.” But, unfortunately, there is always so much great stuff to do you can’t help yourself.

See what I mean?

A couple of people suggested to me that dinner should be an hour earlier (at 6) and hence all the evening events an hour earlier. One lady said she was disappointed that she hadn’t been able to take part in the Buskers night because it was just too late after a full days worth of dashing about. I’m wondering if we could just have 1 lesson in the morning and 1 in the afternoon? I know a lot of people want to get the most out of their time there, but, if it means newbies aren’t coming back because they know how rough they will feel for a week afterwards, is it worth it? Another lady said to me she would have liked to see “Time for you” on every single day, for at least an hour. Perhaps getting rid of the 1 hour workshops at 4pm is the answer? Is there only so much information you can take in before you start to go brain dead?

I dunno, I’m not a committee member, so who knows what next year will bring. I just hope all the people I spoke to will write their thoughts on the feedback questionnaire that we hand in at the end of the week. It will be interesting to see what transpires….

As for me, I’m slowly recovering (it usually takes me about a week) and the weekend will be spent unpacking and wading through the washing (mine and the stuff the family didn’t get around to doing) and catching up with your comments, e mails, Twitter and Facebook. I’ll start wading through the backlog of Blogs I need to read starting Monday πŸ™‚

So a HUGE thank you to this years committee, who work tirelessly to make Swanwick – The Writers Summer School what it is. It was great to meet up with people I haven’t seen for a year, and meet others who I hope to see next year. I can’t imagine not attending Swanwick and now begins the 11 month count down *sniggers*

23 thoughts on “Reflections on Swanwick #Swanwick65

  1. Thanks Vikki. It has been really generous of you to share your time at Swanwick. I’m hoping to get there next year, for the first time.
    I’m also interested to hear how you find the feedback from the RVA NWS. I only managed to get my ms in recently so will have quite a time to wait I think.
    Good luck with the writing


  2. Hi Vicki,
    Understand you comments entirely. It is hugely exhausting to try and do everything. Personally, I decided that, as much as I wanted to, I would miss all the 1 hour sessions in the afternoons (except one) to give me some time to myself and to catch up with my daily writing practice.
    I particularly loved Lexi’s Procrastination-Free Day which allowed me to produce two short story first drafts. Way more than I expected!
    Sorry we didn’t get chance to chat much over the course of the week. I look forward to chatting with you next year.
    Also, I wondered if you’d be kind enough to allow me to post a link to your blog on my blog, and perhaps you would do the same? Thanks.


    • Thanks Liz, it is, and you’d think I’d learnt my lesson after 3 years! Lol

      Well done on what you achieved on the Procrastination Free Day, it seemed that everyone did so well πŸ™‚

      Yes of course honey! What’s the link to your blog?



  3. Wasn’t it last year you had trouble with your feet or am I remembering wrong? I love your write ups and will have to go back and read them all–I am having trouble keeping up with my favourite bloggers this summer–and you are one of them. I would love to attend sometime, but it would be quite a trek–it would be my holiday!


    • Oh well done LouAnn, yes, we’ll, not at Swanwick, that was at another writers school. It put me off going back to that one this year 😦

      Oh don’t worry honey, I know what it’s like, I’m so behind myself 😦

      Ha ha ha, yes, that WOULD be a trek! Are there any like it local-ish to you?



  4. I do agree with you about the timing of the evening events, particularly the Buskers’ Night. There was so much talent there and it was a shame that many people missed out. Mark and his helpers go to an enormous amount of trouble to put it all together and deserve a much bigger audience.


  5. I disagree about getting rid of the workshops. I’d feel cheated, for the benefit of people who couldn’t pace themselves. No one is forcing anyone to go to everything! In addition, there is a two hour gap between the end of the workshop and dinner, if you’re not going to a Read/Write/Relax session. Plenty of “Time For You”. Maybe if we made that clearer on the program…?


    • Thanks Cheryl,

      I guess there has to be a happy medium, I’m just worried that “white badgers” are not coming back because it wasn’t the relaxing time they thought it would be 😦

      I really don’t know what the answer is, and I’ll just continue to tell newbies not to try to do everything! Shame I don’t take my own advice πŸ˜‰



  6. Welcome home Vikki!
    I must admit I love coming home after a holiday too. I don’t know if the full programme would put me off. I go to a lot of conferences for work though and they tend to pack as much in as they can, and at those you aren’t really allowed to go and hide to have some me time.
    Really looking forward to hearing about your Tangled feed back.


    • Thanks Debbie πŸ™‚

      The great thing about Swanwick is that you DON’T have to attend the classes….but, then you feel like you’re missing out, especially if there is a session you’re really interested in.



  7. Thanks for all your posts on this years Writers Retreat, it’s a great window into a place I really want to get to. I’m going to keep at my writing and I know some day I will be there too.


    • Thanks HJ πŸ™‚

      You can really benefit from Swanwick no matter where you are in your writing journey. My first year I’d only been writing a few months when I attended.

      Hope to see you next year? πŸ˜‰



  8. Great post about Swanwick Vikki. Dinner at 6pm? What? Whoever said that is probably in bed by 9. If I ate that early I’d be starving by ten o’clock, especially if I had a couple of drinks. And I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Think you know what I think about the ‘early dinner’ idea. xxx


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