This week I will finish my first draft.
She has made this and many other such bold claims, all of which she has yet to live up to. She once promised me twenty-five thousand by the end of the day. Four hundred and twenty-seven was what I received. Needless to say, I was not best pleased. One might think I would be more cautious, that I might temper my excitement. Sadly, it is not in my disposition to do so.
So two weeks ago, when she promised me forty-thousand by the end of that week, I set about tucking in my napkin and polishing my silverware. I sat, knife in one hand and fork in the other. Ready.
And I waited.
There were scraps here and there. Something to take the edge off. She had signed up to a plethora of feeding workshops. My heart sped up every time she clicked ‘launch meeting’.
That week started off well. She attended the The M.O.V.E Method Writing Retreat – a five day ‘on-the-line’ course. Each morning participants were given an activity and in the evening they would gather on Zoom and discuss that day’s activity.
Their leader’s method was far different than anything my feeder and I had previously encountered. One writing activity, a visualisation activity, followed by gentle physical activity and then a repeat of the visualisation activity and the writing activity. The hope was that changes would take place in the repeating. Any change, however small, must be noted – their leader stated.
Day one’s activity asked: What is your target for this week?
She wrote: to write twenty-thousand words.
After the physical activity, the question repeated: What is your target for this week?
She wrote: to write forty-thousand words.
That is no small change, I thought. And that change is most certainly beneficial to me.
However, she finished day one’s activity and spent the rest of the day thinking. Thinking. What good is thinking?!
Day three came around by which time my belly had begun to rumble every two minutes. But did she feed me? No! She continued to think. Thinking. Hmph!
It was on day three that she made a discovery. The questions that prompted this discovery: What do you want to get out of writing your book/story or piece of writing you are focussing on right now? What do you want it to do for you?
Years ago these fantasy worlds and characters had presented themselves to her. She believed them to be mere escapism. Escapism for herself and eventually, she hoped, escapism for those who desperately needed to live in worlds in which anything was possible, even if only for a few moments.
There was a thinking that had been crawling around the outskirts of her brain for a few weeks, and on this day it was fully realised. These stories were and are a working through of her own small sadnesses and tiny wounds that have accumulated over several years. Her character Mud, does not only represent a girl who struggled to string spoken-words together, she represents the much beloved Grandmother who suffered from Parkinson’s.
What my feeder will do with this discovery, I do not know. Probably more thinking.
No matter, I thought, there are the other workshops I could look forward to. One workshop – ‘Her Path to Purpose X Creative Mouthpiece’ – had participants play a game in which they had to say everything they knew about a particular word in thirty seconds. In another workshop participants were asked to recall a moment of presence and write about it.
For your amusement, here is that moment:
Open Laptop. Glaring screen. Hundred faces. Hundred voices. Mute. Movement. I peek through the window-glass. Hopping from weed to weed, a tiny winged creature. White and black face, brown body with a green and yellow blush. Unperturbed by its watcher, it thrusts its beak at the strand poking out from beneath the earth. It hops to the next and repeats the action. Its brother or sister or cousin or friend swoops down, landing on the opposite side. And watches. The winged creature becomes frantic. Hop, peck, hop, peck, hop, peck, hop, peck. Its brother or sister or cousin or friend grows bored. It leaves to catch another show. Distraught at the loss of an audience member, the winged creature takes flight. It perches atop the fence for a moment, then disappears into the day-blue sky.
It is fine I suppose, but I need a sprinkle of magic. A bit more…pazazz! She tells me there is plenty of it on its way to me. That Mud’s story is filled with curses and wishes and enchanted trees. But I digress.
These exercises were about focussing the mind, away from the distractions of inner hurts. That week emphasised that writing, no matter what genre – whether it be historical or auto-biographical or fantastical – can aid in healing.
Below I have compiled a list of some of the latest workshops she has attended, some are one-offs but do keep an eye out on their Eventbrite pages for any future workshops.
Lastly, dear reader, I know you must be wondering…and the answer is no. She did not feed me the forty-thousand words I was promised. I thank you for the pity I know you must feel for me, but fling not hatred towards my feeder. This is the week. She has assured me. This is the week. This time next week I shall report back to you, full-bellied.
Happy Feeding! (Or thinking! Hmph!)
Lists of workshops:
The M.O.V.E Method Writing Retreat
This five-day free online course is led by Carol Anne, via Zoom. Participants are given an activity every morning via Facebook and email. They are then invited to a one-hour zoom meeting in the evening to discuss how they found the activity. You do not have to have your camera on, but you are encouraged to share your experience of the activity set for that day. Carol Anne has devised her own method on how to approach writing and plans to run these retreats every couple of months. Keep an eye on her Eventbrite page for future events.
Link to Carol Anne’s Eventbrite Page:
Her Path To Purpose X Creative Mouthpiece
Her Path To Purpose run free workshops to empower women via Zoom. Their recent workshop with Creative Mouthpiece focussed on using writing as a method to heal. Your cameras do not have to be on but you are encouraged to interact with each other and share your thoughts/writings etc.
Keep an eye on their Eventbrite page for future events:
Free Introduction to the Women’s Writing as Healing Workshop Series
This workshop is run by Marn Norwich via Zoom. The introduction session is free to attend and gives an insight into what her paid workshops will include. Participants are encouraged to turn their cameras on and introduce themselves. If they wish to share the writing they do in the session they may do so. Marn leads you through a meditation to begin with and then provides writing prompts as inspiration for your writing. The prompts in this session are inspired by gratitude as the sessions are focussed on using writing as a method to heal.
Keep an eye on her Eventbrite page for future events:
All About Writing
All About Writing run workshops via Zoom on different topics. These are one-off free workshops. Their latest was a discussion on how to write an antagonist. Your cameras do not have to be on and you do not have to speak.
Keep an eye out on their Eventbrite page for future events:
Ongoing Workshops/Write With Me Sessions:
London Writers’ Salon:
Matt and Parul’s London Writers’ Salon run ‘The Writers’ Hour’ four times a day. These are free ‘write with me’ sessions. Writers from all over the world gather on Zoom and write in silence for 50 minutes. There is an opportunity at the end to share what you have been working on during that hour. You can keep your camera on or off. It is a beautiful and motivating space to work in.
Link to the writers’ hour:
Paperbacks & Co:
Paperbacks & Co run ‘Writer’s Cohort Power Hours’. These are ‘write with me’ sessions run by Lauren, over Zoom. They are free to attend for the first month. After the first month there is a fee, if you want to attend as many hours as you can. However they also do an ‘always-free’ tier where you can join one power hour a month for free. There are opportunities at the beginning and end of the session to share what you are working on. This is optional, you do not have to participate in these discussions, you can listen. You can keep your camera on or off. It is another motivating space to work in.
Link to Paperbacks & Co:
We Write Through:
‘We Write Through’ run by Elena Taylor from Allegory Editing, over Zoom. This is a free one hour workshop run once a week, in which Elena goes through different aspects of the craft, showing us examples from scenes she has written. Each week focuses on a different topic eg: how to build tension in a scene, or how to world-build. There is an opportunity at the end to ask Elena questions regarding what was covered in the workshop or questions about your own work. You do not have to have your camera on or speak if you do not want to.
Link to Allegory Editing Workshops:
Writing Reimagined run ‘Pitching Sessions!!!’ These are free workshops run over Zoom, on how to pitch writing articles to magazine editors and help you to generate ideas on what sort of articles you could write. In addition, editors will be dropping into the sessions. The sessions are held once a week. Again you do not need to turn on your camera or mic if you do not want to.
Writing Reimagined also run other workshops, such as ‘Accountability Hours’ (where you write together in silence).
Link to Writing Reimagined Workshops:
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