Writing solo

It’s week nine and the pile of reading list books still doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I’ve accepted now that reading only parts of books until week 12 is a perfectly reasonable thing to be doing at this late stage of the game.

The last few weeks have been particularly fun but full-on. We’ve had a Writers Read with Daniel Shand who talked to us about his brilliant debut novel, Fallow. We also had a great masterclass from Chris Arthur who talked to us about the essay and gave us a handful of writing exercises which were really helpful for getting started on our own attempts – finally the essay makes sense!

The Dundee Literary Festival also took place at the end of October. I only managed to get along to two events but I made two excellent choices! The first one was ‘Nasty Women’ featuring three contributors,┬áJen McGregor, Alice Tarbuck and Becca Inglis, who had written essays for 404 Ink’s sensational collection. Topics ranged from Courtney Love to birth control which made for a really interesting hour of conversation.

I also listened to Erland Clouston’s hilarious but fascinating insight into the life of Nan Shepherd, ‘Zen and the Art of Rucksack Maintenance’. I love Nan’s book The Living Mountain so I was pretty excited about this one but Erland,┬áNan’s literary executor and family friend, didn’t disappoint.

Last week, I made a trip up to Inverness to interview the very lovely, Cynthia Rogerson. I’d met Cynthia earlier in the year at Moniack Mhor but it was great to find out more about what brought her to the Highlands from California, and her process for writing wonderful novels.

I’ve been very conscious of the fast-approaching deadlines of weeks ten and twelve so this week I decided to take off to the Isle of Skye for a couple of days by myself – and what a productive few days they’ve been! It’s amazing how much more you can achieve when there’s no distractions of day-to-day life. Details of my escapades are on my personal blog and I certainly don’t think this will be the last time I take off on a solo adventure!