Julia Hawkes-Reed

Hacker and Science Fiction writer Julia Hawkes-Reed shares her thoughts on the MeddwlCoed writing retreat this February…

What was your goal and reason for attending?

I think I mostly wanted to see if I could just crank the handle and have words come out in a pleasing order. I’ve also been spectacularly impressed that Roz & Jo and the rest of the tribe/cult actually went off and did something many people talk about, and I guess this was an obvious way that I could lend some support.

Did the retreat helped you reach your goal and how?

Yes. Oh lord, yes. I think just being in a quiet, warm and supportive environment with tea and coffee making facilities was enough for me.

Obviously it did not hurt in the slightest that the outlines I brought along to work on were deemed plenty good enough by the experts, and having that boost to one’s confidence helped immensely. I mean, I was pretty sure of the ideas, but confirmation is always nice.

What did you like best about the retreat in general, or what was your favourite moment?

See above about a supportive atmosphere. It’s obviously a massive privilege to be able to throw a laptop in a bag and bunk off from your responsibilities for a weekend, and I am happy I was able to do just that.

There were many good bits, but surfacing from a (for me) impressive wordcount for half a morning, to bunk off and go inspect a castle on a rocky hilltop was just a happy thing.

Also, since I’m a trans woman, there’s always an unworthy daemon at the back of my head going ‘They’re going to look at you funny, you _freak._’ because yay toxic media landscape and resulting internalised transphobia. This did not happen.

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