Over Christmas I went home to visit my family, as many people do, returning to place where I’ve spent the majority of my life. For all of its faults, it is a beautiful and inspiring place, so much so that it’s even the setting of The Deconstructor. It is peaceful, gorgeous and has that wild feel to it that I greatly miss now that I’m living in England.
The Highlands have always been my home and I think will always feel like home. I left for a number of reasons and all of them still stand, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll ever stop missing that stunning place or that I’ll ever feel like I don’t belong there. And whenever I am there, I’ll soak up all the homely feel and inspiration that I can!
Cue, a photo set!
I was particularly lucky on this day in December to have such beautiful weather as I went out for a six hour trek with my partner, so I was able to snag lots of pictures of things my new home doesn’t have.
It’s important when you’re feeling a bit down with writing to think about why you write and what inspires you to write. While I have trouble actually writing settings, I find pictures of places and walking places hugely inspirational. My mind instantly goes to all the amazing things that could have happened where I am, all the potential for adventures.
I’ve been struggling with edits a little so an impromptu forest walk yesterday helped kicked my mind into gear, especially as my characters are stuck in the wilderness at the moment. So here is a collection of setting inspiration pictures I took, I hope you enjoy and maybe even get a little inspiration yourself!
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.
Stage left is someone desperately trying to set up a PowerPoint.
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.
During the break, I made the terrible mistake of doodling this instead of going to get a hot drink.
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?