This blog post by Samuel Hulett was written during the Emerging Writers: Writing, Editing and Publishing Prose course 4-9 June 2018.
Samuel Hulett is a part-time creative writing student with the Open University, and works in policy communication for the children’s sector. Samuel saw the Emerging Writers course as an opportunity to spend time writing and talk shop with other writers, whether attendees or tutors. He blogs at www.patchworkmind.co.uk
It’s coming to the end of my second full day at Tŷ Newydd, with two more full days to go, and a breakfast on Saturday morning. It’s only half way through the week and, so far, it’s everything that I could have asked for.
The house itself, home to former Prime Minister David Lloyd George and shaped in part by Clough Williams-Ellis hides on the hill above Llanystumdwy, between the sycamores and oaks, and reveals itself in a picture perfect pose at end of the long driveway. The grounds are ideal; from the lawn you can see across Cardigan bay, and there are plenty of outdoor nooks and crannies to seclude yourself in and write. We—the attendees—all introduced ourselves in the garden on the first night, in the shade of a wisteria, tantalised by the smell of forthcoming spaghetti bolognese. The weather has been exemplary for this time of year, and we’ve been fortunate to hold workshops and talks outside at various times.
Inside, the house is higgledy-piggledy, clearly a true hybrid of old and new; the library has the original chandeliers, but comfortable sofas. The pantry has thick, bulbous stone walls, and the kitchen is fitted with all you could wish for and stocked to the rafters with food. Having eaten the lemon drizzle cake, the spaghetti bolognese, and the sausage and leek plait, I can say for certain that Tony knows his onions.
Then of course, there are the people; houses are tomb-like structures without them. The tutors, Tristan Hughes and Tiffany Murray, have welcomed us at all levels of experience, shared the benefit of their experience, shown exercises to provide different perspectives on writing, and helped me renew my enthusiasm for my work.
This enthusiasm has radiated from the other attendees too. This is the first opportunity that I’ve had to do something like this and meeting other writers, sharing our experiences, our processes, talking endlessly about books, (of course), and holding impromptu discussions in the library until bed time, has been inspiring. It makes me want write more, to write better.
We’re halfway through and my thoughts are turning to the end of the week, when all the writers will have the opportunity to read something they’ve been working on this week. Having never done a course like this before, I’ve never had the opportunity to share writing by reading aloud before, and aside from initial trepidation, it’s been a surprisingly enjoyable experience. The tutors have been supportive, and the other attendees either supportive themselves or uneasy too. I can’t overstate the benefit of being around people in exactly the same boat as you.
I can smell dinner on; I’d better get back to writing. Tŷ Newydd comes highly recommended from me, anyway.