Every time I walk past my brand new suitcase I smile. It's only ten days until the Swanwick Writer's Summer School begins. I can't wait.
I went there, last August, for the first time. Before I went, I visited the website to look at the programme and sort out my booking. On the website they talked a lot about the 'magic of Swanwick', which I thought was just marketing speak, but after one evening of glorious weather, inspiring speakers and comfortable surroundings, I realised it was not sales hype. By midweek I was wandering around smiling. I had many reasons to smile. First of all there was the magic of Swanwick, which truly exists. There were fellow writers everywhere, new friends to meet and so much to do and learn. I was also smiling because I was away from my house.
Having a chronic pain condition makes taking holidays extremely difficult. Well, I'll be honest, having a chronic pain condition makes simply going out for the day almost impossible, never mind going on holiday.
It was truly magical to be away from home and yet to feel safe. I was close enough for friends to come and rescue me if my health deteriorated. Yet I was far enough away to feel like I was on an adventure.
It's not an exaggeration to say that being at Swanwick changed my writing life. In that one week I learnt so much about how to construct a story, about fantasy and autobiography, about plot and publishing and how real authors live day by day.
If you want to spend time with three hundred other fun loving writers and you enjoy pastry, then I would recommend Swanwick Writer's Summer School. There are a few places left. You can book until August 7.
Soon, instead of simply smiling at my suitcase, I'm going to begin to pack.