Hemlington workshops, music gigs, and a new writing challenge…

Hello Everyone,

Firstly, apologies for the slightly longer than usual gap between posts but I had a hectic week last week.  Not only was I running the first of the short story workshops in Hemlington (more on this later) but I was also away twice in the week.  I dashed down to Birmingham with my other half for the Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow gig on Wednesday.  NB: – For any 1970s rock fans out there who may be wondering – yes, it was awesome, even better than last year, and yes, I do feel very fortunate to have managed to get tickets for the ‘once in a lifetime’ gig two years in a row (am keeping my fingers crossed that Blackmore does it again next year too so that I can be three for three).  Then on Friday I went to London for the 20th annual Great Writing conference.

This year was my third time attending and giving a paper at what is one of the most useful creative writing conferences in the country, if not the world.  Every year it attracts those writers and writing teachers who are at the cutting edge of creative writing practice and studies.  People come regularly from Canada and the USA, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle and Far East, Europe and all over the UK and for the first time this year there were delegates from South America.  It really is a fantastic place to meet other writers and find out what they are doing with both their creative work and the teaching of creative writing.  Now I am full of good ideas for further courses and workshops so be warned I may be trying out some invented methods for teaching writing on any of you that might be inclined to enroll on any of my future creative writing courses.

And speaking of creative writing sessions I did promise a return to the topic of the Hemlington series.  So far we have had two of the three sessions with the final one next week.  There are places still on that and also a couple of slots for the mentoring day at Hemlington in August but if you want to be sure of getting a place best not leave it too much longer.  And in case you are wondering if these workshops are any good (they are, of course EXCELLENT!) here is a little feedback from Peter who has attended both the Hemlington sessions, is signed up for the third and also for some mentoring so you don’t just have to take my word for it.

“When I decided to enter the short story competition, I felt like I needed more help as the theme was vast! So I signed up for the first of the workshops and got more than just help for the competition. Attending these workshops has reminded me of what I love about writing in the first place and has got me writing multiple times a day again, whenever I get a moment to myself. There are plenty of opportunities to get feedback from other writers which is one thing I’ve always been afraid of, but I’m getting better at sharing my work.” Peter (Hemlington workshops)

So you can see from this that getting together with other writers, although daunting at first, is a rewarding opportunity in what is an otherwise solitary craft. If you feel your writing could use a boost like Peter has experienced then maybe now’s the time to get yourself signed up for a session or two.

And finally…the writing prompt.

As Peter said, one of the most useful things to come from the workshops is that he is back writing regularly.  I want to encourage all of you to do the same so this week I set the following challenge:

  1. Chose a book off your shelf.
  2. Open it at random.
  3. Read the first word on that page.
  4. Write one sentence using that word in it.
  5. Do this at least twice per day for a week (more often if you can manage it).

Try to make the sentences link together so that be the end of the week you have a paragraph that you can then develop into the opening of a story.

Until next week – happy writing,


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9 - 19 June 2021