Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Creative Day in Birmingham

I had a wonderful day yesterday with my one of my fellow Wrekin Writers, Nicola, at an Open University run (C.R.A.C.) Creative Writing workshop. We arrived at 11am and we were greeted by a lady who said she recognised me but we couldn't for the life of us remember where we had seen each other before! Don't you just hate that when it happens? She did look vaguely familiar. We went through writers' groups, hospitals, writers' bash (yes she had been to a writers' bash but not the one I had), blogs, web sites, writing courses, but no, nothing twigged. Then we discovered that we both lived in the same area and that she works in the same building as my husband - so it's possible we have seen each other in passing there. It took us a couple of hours to work it out, though!

The day was very inspiring and it was lovely to have a self indulgent writing day amongst other writers, none whom I have met before - apart from Nicola, of course! Three of them were doing the Creative Writing course with the OU (A215) I did in 2007, so it was nice to hear about their experiences and share mine.

After creeping death, we got straight into a writing activity where we had to write about a character we hated. It could be a fictional or a real character. And it was such fun. Mine was real and Brenda will know exactly who mine was when I read my piece out to her!I bit the bullet and volunteered to read mine out first and then cringed in anticipation of the critique by my fellow writers. But, on the whole, they were very positive, which made me happy. They weren't the kind of writers who would say they thought a piece of work was okay when it was, in fact, flawed, so considering we only had twenty minutes to write it, I was pleased with the comments.

Each writer had the opportunity to read their work out and the quality of all of them was amazing. We were a mixed bunch from all over the West Midlands, the youngest probably in their mid-to-late twenties and the oldest about mid-sixties. We all had different levels of experience in writing. Some had done writing courses, some not. One lady was an editor for non-fiction books and revision guides (I think we were all a bit scared and in awe of her as she tapped away on her mini-laptop (note book thingy).

The teacher was superb and very encouraging, as were the other writers there. We discussed writing groups with Nicola and I singing the praises of Wrekin Writers. We may have a couple of new members joining us.

At lunch time we were let loose on the local market and were told to make notes using all of our senses to describe what we could see, smell, hear, touch and taste. It was a wonderful market - a real melting pot of cultures, so it provided a lot of sensory stimulation. I really enjoyed it.

In the afternoon we paired up with someone we didn't know and discussed our notes from the market and then said what we wanted to write next. We had to give each other ten minutes talk time without interruption. At the end of the ten minutes the 'listening' partner gave the 'talking' partner advice and pointers on where they might take their writing ideas next - like a mentor/ writing buddy. I found this a fantastic experience and it's helped me to form a plan for my NanoWriMo novel.

I think it's good for writers to take themselves out of their normal writing circle and meet other writers they don't know. Sometimes it's much easier to write something and have it critiqued by 'strangers' than it is with people you know well as you know you're probably not going to see the people on a one-off writers' workshop again!

So, if you have the opportunity to attend a writing workshop then go for it. They can be beneficial and really kick start your creativity. Also, they can make you realise that you are not alone in your writing endeavours and that there is support out there if you look for it.

Happy writing



Sue Horder-Mason said...

Julie it sounds like you had a wonderful day and learned a lot, definitely a more enjoyable experience than my Saturday lol

Sue xx

Carole Anne Carr said...

Really enjoyed the description of your day, and very envious. The course I'm on involves a few trips to Gloucester, not looking forward to them, in the evenings in the winter months, but shall try not to a wimp and go and enjoy them, as you are doing. Much love xx

Julie P said...

Thanks, Sue! Yes, but I think your saturday was far more entertaining! Though I have no idea how I would have coped in your situation! I'd have probably gone down with the car, imortalised in concrete!!

The writing day was most useful and I hope to go to more. Looking forward to next week's wWrekin Writers' workshop too though.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Carole. Yes I am very tempted to just stay in the warm and hibernate at this time of year but I'm so glad I made myself go to theis writing day - it certainly bolstered my desire to write.

I'm sure you'll manage to make it to the days in Gloucester for your course, and enjoy them once you get there.

Take care

Julie xx

Simon Whaley said...

Remembering where you'd seen someone. Hmmm - definitely sounds like a short story odea to me - perhaps the characters may have met somewhere where they wished that hadn't!

(Interesting verification word - sunwrise - do you think that refers to sunrise in 'w'inter)

Julie P said...

It would make a great short story idea wouldn't it, Simon. Yes, can you imagine the embarrassment of walking into a room of people you are going to spend the day with and you spot someone from your deep and darkest past you'd rather forget?! Oooooh!

Sunwrise! I think it is a winter sunrise.

Julie xx