Tuesday, 18 December 2012

What's Your Story?

At the beginning of December we began our first What's Your Story?sessions.  My initial worry that I would be speaking to an empty room proved totally unfounded.  We had an excellent turn out.   Both the taster sessions and the course itself were very well attended and attracted an interesting, creative mix of people, all keen to start writing.
So much in creative writing groups depends on the mix of people in the room and at What's Your Story? we've got a real cross section of ages, backgrounds, and experience.  This really adds something to the sessions.  The discussions were lively and interesting - because the people on the course are lively and interesting.  There was never a lull in the proceedings.  Participants always had something to say: an opinion to offer, or an insight to share and I learned as much as anyone else - even though I'm the course tutor.  That's the thing that never fails to surprise me:  how much you can learn through teaching.  I read some stories that I know really well and at each session, someone offered me an insight into the story which hadn't occurred to me before.  I really love that.  

As well as reading stories in the group we also write at each session.  We always complete one or two short writing exercises. These exercises only take about 10 - 20 minutes to complete, sometimes I just do a couple of very short 5 minute exercises.  This is intended to reduce anxiety around writing.  Many people worry that they have to produce a work of genius - that it has to be amazing, or why bother?  You can talk yourself out of writing before you even begin.  We often listen to that voice that tells us: 'This has been done before, and better, what have you got to say that's new? And who's going to be interested?'  And it stops us before we even start.  I always tell people to ignore that voice and just pick up a pen and begin.  Usually the work that they produce is much better than they imagined.  And even if it isn't, it's just a starting point, a sketch - it can be worked on and fleshed out, improved and re-imagined.  That's what the writing exercises provide participants with: a starting point, a lump of clay that they can mould into whatever shape they want.

Some of the work produced by the group so far, has been of a very high standard.  We'll be publishing the work on the website in the next few months, and the writers will be participating in a group writing project - so look out for that, too.

If you'd like to get involved in What's Your Story?  There are still some places available.  The Toxteth daytime session is full but there are still some places left on the evening course which takes place on Monday 7th January at the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre, Princes Road, L8 1TH. (6.00 - 8.00pm) There are also a few places left on the Croxteth course, which takes place on Tuesday 8th January at  Communiversity, Altcross Road, L11 0BS (10.00-12.00pm)  So why not make creative writing one of your New Year's resolutions?  If you've always wanted to write, but need some help and encouragement to get you started then why not come along to one of the groups.  We've got a lovely mixture of participants who are very warm and encouraging of each other's work.  So if you'd like to come along you'd be very welcome.  

Hope to see you at one of the groups.  Have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and creative New Year!
I'm spending a bit of time writing over Christmas - I promised myself that I'd have the final draft of my novel finished by Christmas and I've missed my own deadline.  So I'll have to get busy...

Paula Currie

No comments:

Post a Comment