Sunday, 27 September 2015

A Very Different Writing Workshop

The drumbeat transports me through the earth by way of a hollow tree. “You’ll meet your power animal,” the drummer says. Sure enough, a young female deer is waiting for me. Eyes unsure, she finally lets me touch her suede nose.

“Has your power animal a message for you?” The drumbeat echoes in the background, as the doe somehow communicates with me – "Be calm, be gentle, no need to push or hurry. It will all happen by itself." The message feels clearly about my writing, I’ve been feeling impatient with myself of late.

Then, I’m riding on the back of the deer at breakneck speed, through sunsets, over beaches, over a lake and to an island, where I eat flatbreads covered in sage honey with a young North American Indian couple.

This was the start of my day on the Words From Other Worlds – Tracking the Wild writing course in the Brecon Beacons. After this opening meditation in a lovely barn, sitting by a wood burner, we went for a walk in the countryside. Our mission was to be observant of nature, to look for the tracks of animals and notice the birds. We found squirrel feeding spots where acorns littered the ground, listened to the buzzard and raven calling, found tracks and followed them, found badger hair on tree trunks and nuts delicately nibbled by mice.

The weather was glorious and the landscape even more so. When we stopped for lunch, our writing exercise was to focus on one of the creatures and write about them from different perspectives. We stopped twice more, when the drum was again deployed to relax us and allow us to focus on nature, then we wrote about our experiences. My last piece was a very profound poem about my life to date and the way to the future.

We returned to the barn for yummy carrot cake and tea. We shared the poetry and prose we had written. Each participant had something new and different to offer. It was a truly magical day. An added bonus was the plot of a time slip novel coming into my head during one of the meditations.

I think my experiment with different writing experiences is off to a good start.

If you are interested in Words From Other Worlds – Tracking the Wild run by Shamanic Healer, Sarah Howcroft and Poet and Writing Tutor, Susan Richardson, have a look at Sarah Howcroft’s website for contact details.

Have you tried anything new to stimulate your creativity recently? Please tell me your stories below.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Where did the summer go?

How did we arrive in the middle of September?

I feel as if the summer slipped by without me noticing it. I give below a few highlights of my last few months.

The Romantic Novelists' Association Annual Conference

This year the conference was held in London and I just happened to choose the day of a tube trike to travel. The conference was fantastic as always. A highlight was being shortlisted for the conference Elizabeth Goudge competition with the first chapter of a novel.

Family Holiday in Northumberland

We had a fantastic two weeks in Bamburgh, Northumberland. I had no difficulty reaching my 10,000 steps a day goal with such a beautiful beach to walk. The writer in me found loads of inspiration for stories, not least when men started to abseil down the castle walls to mend the stonework!


Lovely Times with my Little Son

He's almost a teenager and I took advantage of him wanting to spend time with me this year. Next year might be a very different story.

Bewdley Book Week

I went to three events. A poetry afternoon, a history talk and afternoon tea with Katie Fforde and Jo Thomas. I enjoyed all of the events, but the latter was fantastic.

Writing News

My novel was submitted to the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writers' Scheme for critique and now I am busy editing the manuscript to take account of the suggestions made in my report.

Besides the competition shortlisting mentioned above, I also shortlisting in a flash fiction competition run by Sue Johnson of Writer's Toolkit.

How was your summer?