In Person

Writing Circles 2016 Update

  Writing Circles logo

I have some news for Spilling the Ink:  Starting in January, I will be teaching physics full time in a local school. This means that the Writing Circles workshops will be on hiatus. I hope to offer a workshop in the Cambridge area during the summer months. Details to come.

In the meantime, I will be hosting a Spilling the Ink event on 26 January with What Now, What Next from 8.00 – 9.00 pm GMT (3 – 4 pm EST, 1 – 2 pm MST).  It will be an online workshop entitled Emerging Visions – the Iterative Nature of Creativity.  We'll engage in activities to help us consider how creative endeavours come in iterations.  There will be chances to write, draw, and dream.  It will be free, but spaces are limited, so sign up soon.  Registration and more information here.

I shall miss leading Writing Circles, but this teaching opportunity feels like the right choice for now.  If you’re looking for an online writing course/community in the new year, I have some recommendations.  I wholeheartedly endorse each of the programmes described below. I hope my descriptions can give you a sense of what makes each special and that you can find something that suits. Perhaps you can ask Father Christmas to give you a gift certificate for a writing course…

  • If you’re interested in journaling, I recommend one of Beverley Nolan’s creative journaling offerings.  Beverley is a wonderfully wise poet, sensitive to the interplay of words, meaning and movement.  She is a professional yoga teacher with nearly 30 years experience and a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist & Educator.  I have enjoyed working with Beverley in my Writing Circles and would encourage anyone curious about exploring creative ways to layer images, words, and colours to try out one of her online journaling workshops.  If you’d like a ‘taster’, register for Beverley’s free Solstice Reflections – 7 days of journaling prompts starting on 18 December.  During January and February, Beverley’s courses, Compass Points 2016 and Watchword 2016, are designed to give a shape to your year.
  • The next course I want to tell you about is Sue Ann Gleason’s Luscious Legacy Project. The Luscious Legacy Project is a wonderful opportunity to craft a tribute to family and tradition.  Each participant’s Luscious Legacy Project takes a different form (mine was primarily stories) and can include stories, letters, photos, art work and recipes combined in unique ways.  What they all have in common are a spirit of taking memories we hold dear and capturing them to share. Sue Ann is a gifted teacher: she taught elementary school for many years and more recently has shared her talents outside the classroom as a culinary nutritionist, nourishment counselor and marketing strategist. If you want to know what it’s like to be in one of Sue Ann’s online communities, imagine yourself in the hands of your favourite elementary school teacher who knows there is nothing small or insignificant about taking the first brave steps towards making meaning. Sue Ann’s warmth, encouragement and support make you feel heard and understood. The next round runs from 24 January – 6 March.  If you’d like a chance to have a sneak preview of a morning with Sue Ann, get in touch with me soon.  You might be able to come as my guest to an online gathering on 5 December.
  • Wild WritingLaurie Wagner’s Online Wild Writing courses bring you to the wild west of the blank page and the lawless territory of your pen, your notebook, and the stories that must somehow be told.  Where some people are famous for being ‘horse whisperers,’ I would say that Laurie is a ‘story whisperer’.  Laurie can tame stories without breaking their spirits. She creates a truly sacred space in small online video groups. The Wild Writing community is not there to critique or craft or shape your words, but to witness them and offer a tremendous power of presence.  Wild Spring starts the first week in January and there are online groups available Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Firefly Creative Writing – I love Firefly Creative Writing! The ethos, the enthusiasm, the funky website, the huge-hearted tone they take towards writers and writing! I love all of it!  Last year, I took their online course, Coming Home to Writing, and loved loved loved it! I had to get up at midnight UK time to do the course in real time, but it was worth every minute.  Chris Fraser, the founder of the company, is warm and real and funny and gets the ink flowing out of everyone.  The community she created in Coming Home to Writing was vibrant and exhilarating.  She uses a combination of video streaming and Facebook groups that give a wonderful immediacy to the group. Recommend!  If you’d like a free taste, try out one of their video writing prompts. And if you’re lucky enough to be in Toronto – go sign up for one of the in-person workshops and tell me all about it!!  The next Coming Home to Writing runs from 14 January – 3 March.

So even though I won’t be running Writing Circles during the first part of 2016, there are many opportunities to spill the ink and keep your pen moving.  I’ll check back with you in the spring to see how you’ve gotten on.

Wishing you happy holidays and all the best for 2016!

Melissa

Spilling the Ink

spilling the ink red border Spilling the Ink is my starting point. I don't get anything written without spilling some ink first. Once it's on the page, blots and all, I'm on my way; I have something to work from, work with.  Want to join me?  How about giving yourself time and space to write down those all those stories, memories, vignettes that you've been meaning to capture?  How about embracing a playful practice with the pen and page?  Come on, come spill some ink. You might be surprised at the creative cats you let out of the bag. 

About Spilling the Ink

We'll meet weekly for eight weeks. Each meeting will have a theme and we'll use a variety of methods to jumpstart new pieces of writing.  During the course, we will explore various genres including memoir, personal essay and short fiction. We'll also delve into the creative process, taking pieces from rough ideas to polished versions.

In addition to writing our own pieces, we will respond to others' work.  There is great value in hearing how our writing affects our readers.  Learning to respond sensitively and substantially is a skill we practice and refine together throughout Spilling the Ink.

At the conclusion of the course, we'll have a celebration with a read-around. Participants will also be invited to include a piece of their writing in an online group anthology to be published later in 2016. Curious to see what has been written?  Have a look at our previous anthologies, Circumference I (Autumn 2015), and Circumference II (Spring/Summer 2015).

Spilling the Ink is one of the Writing Circles programmes I offer. For more information about Writing Circles in general, read here.

Course Fee

  • £150.00. Full payment is required to confirm your registration, which includes a 25% non-refundable deposit. After the first session, if you feel that the programme is not a good match for you, you may request a refund minus the deposit.
  • Partial bursaries available, please inquire.

What if you've already participated in Spilling the Ink?

Previous participants are welcome to join again. Although we may be using some of the same materials, you may find new directions to take your writing.  Alternatively, consider joining me in Continuing the Craft, a Writing Circle for writers who seek community and support on specific projects.

Registration

I keep my Writing Circles small - a maximum of 8 participants - so we get a genuine sense of each others' voices and intentions. This also allows me to spend time focusing on substantial feedback for each writer. If you're looking for a writing course that offers inspiration, community, and personalised feedback, Spilling the Ink is for you!

Spilling the Ink - in person, at Harston Village Hall, Tuesday mornings, 10.00-12.00, from 24 Jan - 21 Mar (no session 14 Feb).

Spilling the Ink - online, content delivered via email to work on at your own pace, a private forum for sharing, and live video workshops on alternate Sundays, from 29 Jan - 26 Mar, 16.00-17.30 UK time.

If you'd like to get an email when registration opens and a discount code, add your name to the Early Notice List here.

Continuing the Craft

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Continuing the Craft is a Writing Circle is for writers who want to strengthen existing works and deepen their writing practice.  Writers will work primarily on individual projects, but we’ll also take time to listen and respond to each other. Participants will have the option of booking one-to-one conferences for more in-depth feedback. This course is ideal for a writer with a small project in mind who feels that the support and structure of a writing community will provide motivation to keep the ink flowing.

About Continuing the Craft

One of the main goals of Continuing the Craft is to hold a dedicated time and space for the community of writers who participate. I've found that more than anything, writers are thirsty for time to write as well as for feedback that acknowledges and respects both the development of the work and the writer's intentions. Continuing the Craft is designed to nourish writers and writing with a two-fold approach: ring-fenced writing time and in-depth response sessions.

An overview of the course is as follows:
  • Initial Meeting - Writers will set intentions and individual goals. Each writer should come with at least 2 small writing projects in mind.  Examples of projects could be a short story, a few blog posts or articles, 3-5 poems, a small collection of flash fiction pieces, a personal essay or a memoir excerpt.
  • Interim Meetings - These are the heart and lungs of the programme, focusing on writing and responding in a two-fold manner:
    • Ring-fenced, quiet writing time: During this time, participants will be working on their projects.  There may be some individualised prompts or feedback from me to get the ink flowing each week, but the primary intention is to hold this space for each writer to dive deep and write without interruption.
    • In-depth responding: Each week we will explore different methods of response. I believe that effective responses must always be encouraging and respectful of the writer's intentions. However, different kinds of response are appropriate at different stages in the creative process. Our responses will vary from witnessing , to asking questions, to fine-tuning.  My aim is to nurture thoughtful responses which enable a piece of writing to become a conversation between reader and writer.
  • Final Session - Writing Celebration!  We celebrate because it is important to see what we have learned and acknowledge how we have grown. We celebrate because creating, even when difficult or painful, is joyful act.
  • One-to-one conferences - Participants in Continuing the Craft will have the option of scheduling individualised writing conferences for more specific feedback on particular pieces or an opportunity to discuss their writing practice in general.
  • Circumference - Participants will also be invited to include a piece of their writing in an online group anthology, Circumference III, to be published later in 2016. Curious to see what has been written in other Writing Circles?  Have a look at our previous anthologies, Circumference I (Autumn 2015), and Circumference II (Spring/Summer 2015).
  • Other questions? - Check out the FAQs for common queries about Writing Circles in general.

Course Fee

  • £150.00. Full payment is required to confirm your registration, which includes a 25% non-refundable deposit. After the first session, if you feel that the programme is not a good match for you, you may request a refund minus the deposit.
  • Partial bursaries available, please inquire.

Registration

I keep my Writing Circles small so we get a genuine sense of each others' voices and intentions. Continuing the Craft will be limited to 8 participants. This also allows me to spend time focusing on substantial feedback for each writer. If you're looking for a writing course that raises the bar in terms of expectation, commitment, and growth, Continuing the Craft is for you!  Register early to avoid disappointment, as spaces are limited.

The next session of Continuing the Craft will start January, 2017.

Registration will open in December 2016.  Sign up for my newsletter to an notification of when registration opens and a discount code!

 

Autumn 2015 Writing Circles

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I'm so pleased to announce that I will be running two Writing Circles starting in October 2015.  They are in different locations and have slightly different emphases.  Each circle will meet weekly for 8 weeks and both will end with a writing celebration.  Read more about each below.

  • Spilling the Ink - This Writing Circle is a starting point, as we can't write anything without spilling some ink first. The course offers a playful outlet for letting our creative cats out of the bag. Each session we'll explore different ways to jumpstart writing, dip into different genres and try our hand at responding.  Suitable for writers of all levels.  THURSDAYS, 19.30-21.30, Harston Village Hall, 1 Oct - 26 Nov (no session 29 Oct). Limited to 8 participants. Fee: £150
  • Continuing the Craft - This Writing Circle is for writers who want to strengthen existing works and deepen their writing practice.  Writers will work primarily on individual projects, but we'll also take time to listen and respond to each other. Participants will have the option of booking one-to-one conferences for more in-depth feedback.  This course is ideal for a writer with a small project in mind who feels that the support and structure of a writing community will provide motivation to keep the ink flowing. FRIDAYS 9.30 - 12.00, Harlton Village Hall, 2 Oct - 27 Nov (no session 30 Oct). Limited to 6 participants. Fee: £150

More details on each of the courses to come.  Watch this space!

Registration to open in late July.  Sign up here for early notification and a discount code.

Summertime Spilling the Ink - Fully Booked

spilling the ink red border

UPDATE (15 May) - The Summertime Spilling the Ink workshop is fully booked!  Check back for updates and announcement of autumn courses ( schedule to be finalised in July )

UPDATE (10 May) - Only 2 spots 1spot remains!! Is it yours? Claim it soon.  If you're on the fence, you can see what past participants have to say here.

Spilling the Ink is my starting point. I don't get anything written without spilling some ink first. Once it's on the page, blots and all, I'm on my way; I have something to work from, work with.  Want to join me?  How about making 2015 the summer you start to write down those all those stories, memories, vignettes that you've been meaning to capture?  How about embracing a playful practice with the pen and page?  Come on, come spill some ink. You might be surprised at the creative cats you let out of the bag. Details for Summertime Spilling the Ink:

  • Thursdays, 10.00 - 12.00, 4 June - 16 July
  • Harston Village Hall, Harston (map to Harston Village Hall, accessible via Stagecoach Bus 26)
  • Open to writers of all abilities with an interest in sharing their work and responding to others' work.  Beginners welcome! (Ages 18+)

About Spilling the Ink

We'll meet weekly for seven weeks. Each meeting will have a theme and we'll use a variety of methods to jumpstart new pieces of writing.  During the course, we will explore various genres including memoir, personal essay and short fiction. We'll also delve into the creative process, taking pieces from rough ideas to polished versions.

In addition to writing our own pieces, we will respond to others' work.  There is great value in hearing how our writing affects our readers.  Learning to respond sensitively and substantially is a skill we practice and refine together throughout Spilling the Ink.

At the conclusion of the course, we'll have a celebration lunch with a read-around. Participants will also be invited to include a piece of their writing in an online group anthology to be published later in 2015. Browse the first anthology, Circumference, here.

Spilling the Ink is one of the Writing Circles programmes I offer. For more information about Writing Circles in general, read here.

Course Fee

  • Register and pay by 21 May for early bird fee of £90.00.  Registrations after 21 May are £105.
  • Partial bursaries available, please inquire if needed.

What if you've already participated in Spilling the Ink?

Previous participants are welcome to join again. Although we may be using some of the same materials, you may find new directions to take your writing.  Alternatively, consider joining me in September 2015 for Continuing the Connection, a Writing Circle for continuers or for individual writing coaching sessions. Details to come soon!

Registration

I keep my Writing Circles small - a maximum of 8 participants - so we get a genuine sense of each others' voices and intentions. This also allows me to spend time focusing on substantial feedback for each writer. If you're looking for a writing course that offers inspiration, community, and personalised feedback, Spilling the Ink is for you!  Register early to avoid disappointment, as spaces are limited.

Click here to register now.

logo by Ophelia Redpath