For almost two years now I have been going to a weekly writing class. I just thought it was worth blogging about the value of a weekly input such as this.
I find that if I go to class, it focuses my mind for the rest of the week and gets me into a good writing habit. Pieces started at writing class have gone on to be developed into much longer manuscripts. The homework given is also stimulating. I’m sure Sue Johnson won’t mind me saying that this week’s was a starter. “A trail of footprints in the snow led to…” The idea was to write a story from this. Instead, I’ve written ten possible starting paragraphs with this theme. Have a go yourself.
There are up to about ten of us with the tutor, Sue Johnson. Sue tutors for Writing Magazine. She has had numerous short stories and poems published, and has just gained her own publishing contract for a novel. The group is of widely differing abilities and experience. We have a great laugh, good biscuits and I feel relaxed there and able to read my work aloud. New people join all the time and it is great to be with like-minded people.
Sue puts out lots of books, writing competitions, magazines and her own publications on the tables. We have a warm up exercise and then at least two other writing tasks during the morning stimulated by phrases, memories, poems, a word box, pictures or sensory stimuli. We chat about writing, publication and our work. It is amazing the variety of different themes and styles that are produced from the writing challenges. I also find that if I am working on a particular WIP I can channel my writing in the exercises around it, which means that I have increased my word count almost without trying.
I drive 40 minutes to get to this class, as many others who come to it do, but I think it is well worth it. It is in Pershore in Worcestershire. Sue also runs courses at the wonderful Farncombe Centre. I have included links below. Well done Sue, you have certainly helped my writing develop.
Do you go to anything similar?
I've never done anything like this, but you make me quite jealous. It sounds like a great experience to have such a regular group to meet with.
Sounds like so much fun – and really useful too. I have never done anything like this at all. I am hopefully going to be doing a short course with Jessica Hart this Jan but I think it's more about polishing up a WIP than the creative process.
You're so lucky to be able to go to Sue's classes regularly. I so enjoyed the one day course I did with her.
Hi Morton, glad your class is going well. A group can be great if the people are supportive and sometimes it's lovely to be able to talk about your writing, especially if your family is bored with it! I have found it difficult in the past writing assignments when you really want to get on with a book or other piece of work, but if you need that stimulation to get you started then it sounds like you've found the perfect place!
Yes I am lucky to be able to go to Sue's class. It isn't one where I need to write assignments as such, but we are given a theme for homework if we want to do it. Sue creates a very safe environment for sharing. I can't wait for Friday now. Makes the week go fast though. Mx
I meet up with a friend – sometimes several of us – on a rgular basis to discuss and crit our novels, ideas, problems – whatever. It's invaluable.
I agree Flowerpot. Just returned from class and feel energised and uplifted! Mx