The twice-yearly writing courses at Ty'n y Coed, near Conwy, has become a firm fixture in the Cinnamon calendar. This November's autumn course was fantastic example of why the courses are so important to our ethos: eight writers coming together to find support and inspiration, each of them making a breakthrough with the work and leaving with a stronger commitment to writing than they had are the start of the week. But don't take my word for it. Here's Diane Woodrow's take on her time at Ty'n y Coed this November.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day …?" No, Pete managed to mash two Shakespearean sonnets, one of which became an ode to Jan, perfectly well on day three of our time away.
All this went on in the first week of November at Tyn-y-Coed, in Rowen, on the Cinnamon writing retreat. There were eight of us writers, plus Jan, Adam, Pete and a guest appearance from Gail Ashton. We managed to cover a multitude of subjects; from mythical humming birds to bipolar disorder, local history to death. Lots on death but the lovely thing about this group is "they do death very well."
It was a safe place to write, to comment on other people's work and to have one's own work critiqued. I could go on about the great exercises we did each morning, the walks we did in the afternoon, the trip to the pub and the boxes of wine that were consumed. I could tell you of the excellent food that was cooked and the lovely place we stayed in.
But I won't. I'll tell you about what I got from it. I gained some lovely friends who have encouraged me to write, one of whom I email every day to say how many words I've achieved and he tells me how many poems he's written. This gets me out of bed each morning and on the laptop when I'm not sure I want to. I gained a confidence in my writing so that, instead of writing tentatively and it not being that great, I have taken the writing bull by the horns and am now writing what I have always been thinking in my head. I am no longer embarrassed by the depths of my feelings with my characters. I feel, after this time away, I can truly call myself a writer.
And it is thanks to those who organised, set workshops and facilitated — Jan, Pete, Adam and Gail — but also to my seven fellow writers who lifted me from my comfort zone and helped me see who I truly am.