Thanks to a very impromptu visit to Glasgow last week, I was able to attend a little of the Aye Write! Glasgow Book Festival. Due to time (and money) I was only able to attend one workshop but it was still a great experience. My very first writing workshop! Woo hoo!
There were things that surprised me and things that didn’t. The great difficulty in setting up the projector and the very unsettling heating arrangements are all things I’m used to thanks to five years at university. Those are things I imagine first year undergraduates sat in their lecture hall in a space station rolling their eyes at. After all, lecturers being unable to work projectors is one of the constants of nature and if we start messing with those who knows where we’ll end up. I was also told to inform a member of staff should smoke start pouring out of the radiator. Again, fairly standard. I was surprised and a bit annoyed for the person giving the workshop as—despite this being a completely voluntary course that we all paid to attend—some people still rolled up late and liked to chat away to each other while the person we all came to see was trying to talk. My naivety struck again as I expected people to be past such things at this stage.
The workshop I attended was Research for Writers run by Dr Ronnie Scott – writer, editor and researcher. It was a fun and interesting experience and has just made me want to move to the city even more so I can attend more of these things. Not just that but the workshop highlighted some of the huge benefits of living close to a big library that I hadn’t really considered before.
I’m pretty well versed in researching via the internet just thanks to life and my undergraduate just about got my head around journals and books. There’s a lot more in libraries than that, it turns out. Like the archives, full of old: council documents; building plans; photos; newspapers; and so, so much more. Okay, so the cataloguing system (or lack thereof?) sounded like a bit of a nightmare but the possibilities opened up by this absolute trove of information are endless. I always knew that records were kept but I hadn’t realised that they were there for any monkey (read: me) to go in and poke around at. It was pretty eye opening.
I also learned the fun term WILFing – when you go looking for something, get super distracted and end up having to ask your screen “What Was I Looking For?” I can see that becoming a major part of my vocabulary.
Do you try to attend events for writers? What’s the best thing you’ve experienced or learned during one?