Baker Days

Once a very long time ago I used to be a teacher. Back in those days schools had Baker days. These were five days each year when the pupils stayed at home and the teachers improved their skills with in-service training. They were called Baker days because they were thought up by a man called Kenneth Baker, (who was the Secretary of State for Education).

As a writer I’m constantly looking to improve my craft. So are many of my colleagues. But if we want training it’s up to us to provide our own. And we do. I belong to a group of published children’s authors called the Scattered Authors’ Society. Also known as the SAS.

By the time you read this post a large group of the SAS, (including several GHB  authors), will have spent the weekend in Peterborough at the SAS Spring Conference. This year I’m very lucky to be one of the conference organisers along with my good friend Linda Chapman.

Linda and I thought long and hard about what to include in the programme. Rappelling down the outside of buildings and leaping out of helicopters came high on our list. But in the end we settled for sessions on things like the editing process, blogging and using twitter, writing YA fiction and productivity techniques.

In-service training for authors

If you could organise a conference what sort of things would you want to learn more about?

12 thoughts on “Baker Days

  1. Morning Julie. It was a great conference – even if I do say so myself! It’s always fascinating when you get a group of writers together, as you can imagine they talk rather a lot! It’s really interesting to hear how other people write though, what they need in their lives to write well, how they plan or don’t plan books, how much they write and the ups and downs of being a writer. It’s great to be with people who understand and who are very supportive. For anyone who wants to be a writer I would suggest going some sort of group – either a creative writing group, or if you’re an adult maybe a group like SCBWI – or maybe start a group of your own with friends or at school/college and meet up once a month specifically to talk about writing. You could share your writing or just talk about writing and wanting to be a writer – sometimes it’s easy to feel alone and to feel that other people in your life don’t quite get it. Great post, Julie – here’s to more Baker days! Lxx

  2. ‘Once upon a very long time ago..’

    OH WOW! You two are SO lucky to go there together! I wish i could meet you two soon x Glad you enjoyed yourself. 🙂

    • Hi Linda,

      It’s true. When you get a group of writers together they NEVER stop talking.

      It was a great weekend and I totally agree that anyone who’s hoping to get published should try going to some sort of creative writing group.

      I’m already looking forward to our next Baker day!


    • Hi Laura,

      Firstly I’m sorry because something weird happened when I responded to Linda’s post. My reply vanished then suddenly appeared under your comment.

      Fingers crossed this reply goes to you and not another person. Mind you, that could be a fun post. Mixing up comments and seeing who can work out where they belong!

      Anyway, thank you and yes we are lucky. I never stop appreciating how lucky I am to have such a fantastic job and fabulous writer friends and brilliant blogging friends too.

      Hope your writing is going well.


  3. Brill post!
    It’s great you had fun in your conference!

    If I organised a conference, I would want to learn more about the people who attended the conference. For example, if it was about authors, it would be nice to learn about their past and how they actually became an author.

    • Hi Hikma,

      I love that idea. I’m always interested to find out more about people, especially authors – their past, when they started writing and how their books came about.

      Great comment.


    • Hi Shakira,

      If you went to a conference on your favourite thing I bet you would find it fun.

      We stayed in a gorgeous hotel with beautiful grounds, an indoor pool and a spa – but don’t tell my family because they think I was working VERY HARD all weekend 😉


  4. Hi Julie
    Great post! I’ve never heard of baker days but I like the thought of them! I hear the conference was a great success. I’ve applied to join the Scattered Authors so I’ll be waiting with baited breath to hear if I get in and can join you next time! See you soon!
    Michelle x

  5. Hi Julie
    Very late in the day from a very tired me! I’ve been at a school all day and with an old friend who I haven’t seen for ages since I got back (late) from the school visit! It’s interesting about conferences because any group of peoplewith a shared interest tend to take on a mutual persona. I’m sometimes in conferece with musicians, sometimes with teachers, sometimes with linguists, sometimes with people who befriend prisoners, and all of these groups of people are very distinctive en masse. But I have to say the best group in the world is children’s authors. They are so kind and supportive and yet great fun and very witty. Well done for an excellent weekend and an excellent post! x

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