Blood Beats

"You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don't live the only life you have, you won't live some other life, you won't live any life at all."

James Baldwin

Blood Beats is a trans-led, cross-disciplinary LGBTQ+ writing group launched in November 2022, by award-winning stage and screenwriter, Conway McDermott. Each meeting includes a social check-in to share the highs and lows of the month, an optional writing activity or prompt, quiet or collaborative coworking time and time to share opportunities and upcoming work. Responding to writers' needs, we mix up monthly sessions with creative workshops and special events.

Blood Beats Manifesto


“Community is the end goal…”

At its core, we want Blood Beats to be a place where we can grow in solidarity with other queer
writers. We want to find future collaborators. We want to to support each other outside of the group, to
be each other’s cheerleaders! We want to build networks that are based on genuine passion and
enthusiasm for each other’s work.

"We are anti-perfectionism"

First and foremost, we’re here to meet in community and grow together. Turning up is enough.
We believe in progress over perfection! We want Blood Beats to be a space where people can try
things and fail. Test them out, even if we flop! We want a space where we can support each other in
coming fearlessly to the blank page! We want to trust each other to give honest, constructive feedback
that isn’t about tearing each other down.

"Queer Joy / Queer Experience!"

Sometimes we just want to enjoy being around people like us. At Blood Beats, we want to revel in
queer joy, build each other up, and celebrate one another’s wins! We want this space to be non-competitive, where we can use our experiences - of the industry and out of it - to help each other. We
want to build a space of care and understanding.

“Permission to be Authentic”

We want to meet in a place of openness and honesty, where people are able to share the lows as well
as the highs, and where we’re able to commiserate as well as celebrate. As LGBTQ+ artists, we are
often forced to curate the version of ourselves that we show to the world, forced to present an
acceptable version of ourselves, or risk our careers, our families, and sometimes our basic safety.

“Time and Space to write...”

In Blood Beats, we aim to facilitate a space where all participants are safe to be authentic in
themselves and their experiences, without fear of punishment, prejudice or shame.
Ultimately, we all want Blood Beats to be a space which helps us to elevate our craft! Whether it’s a
space to pitch ideas, seek feedback from peers, share or discover opportunities, learn from
experienced workshop leaders, or just a nice warm room and a plate of biscuits to buckle down and
work on our own projects, we are all here because we want to grow and improve as writers.
We respect each other as fellow creatives, and want to be a source of accountability to keep writing
and pushing ourselves!

“Sharing credit, building self worth, and validating each other”

Impostor syndrome can get all the way in the bin! We want to be generous in crediting each other for
our achievements. We want to recognise the value of our work as writers, we want to advocate for
ourselves and each other, and in an industry that is rife with free labour and economic and emotional
insecurity, we want to be a voice insisting that we deserve better!

“Keep on questioning…”

Finally, many of the things our group brought to the Blood Beats Manifesto were questions, rather than
statements… we wondered if we could do anything to foster connections between various creative
orgs in the North West? What do we want to contribute in an enduring way to the LGBTQ creative
community in Manchester? How do we connect writers with resources, and push for better paid work?
What opportunities can we create for ourselves and others?