Event report

Conference 2012 - Getting to where you want to be

Report published 26 July 2012

For many of us, this was the final session of the conference, and it was certainly an inspiring note to end on.

Sonia Duggan opened the session by stressing the confidential nature of this workshop, since a great deal of the hour was spent sharing our personal feelings and experiences with the partner we paired with.

To start, she asked us what our passion is and what we want. Members of the audience gave suggestions which included hope, aspiration, escapism, opening new worlds, and changing the world. (No, we writers don’t ask for much!)

She then suggested we think of our writing as a romantic relationship, and to consider the following questions:
• How do we feel about this relationship?
• What is growing stronger in the relationship or becoming weaker?
• Where are we in our relationship? Is this first love, the honeymoon phase, settled down, or past caring?
• What are we tolerating in this relationship, and what are the problems?
• What is static/stagnant in the relationship?
• What are we nurturing / neglecting?
• Who else is involved in this relationship?

I’ll admit this exercise was really easy for me, because my writing career does feel like a relationship! The point of the exercise was to become more aware, so we can change those things that aren’t working and move towards where we want to be.

Sonia then asked us to share our successes, both big and small, and from the discussion the following interesting points came out:
• Listen to your needs. Sometimes it’s okay to break the ‘rules’ to do what you want and get what you want. (or in other words: give yourself permission to do what you need to do)
• Distance yourself from your problems. Be unattached.
• Be brave. Send out those submissions.
• Take risks. Just do it!

The next exercise was to write down three things we’d like to achieve in 2-3 years time. Sonia then asked us to visualise this as a reality and describe it to the person we’d paired with. The final step was to take these goals and make them as specific as possible, including specific time frames.
In pairs we then discussed the challenges / hurdles we face in our writing, as well as the supports we have (which could be both external or within ourselves).

Finally, as a group we discussed what we had taken away from this session. These included determination, positivity, awareness of our possibilities, clearer goals, hope, and more focus. Is there a better way to end a conference than with these uplifting feelings?

Written by Romy Sommer
(aka Rae Summers)

It's a fact

Barbara Cartland is regarded as the world’s most prolific author with over 700 titles. She wrote 550 + of those after leaving the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 1965 – in protest against the word ‘Romantic' in its title.