Spilling the Ink

Curious about Online Spilling the Ink? Try a taster workshop!

spilling-the-ink-red-border.jpg

If you’re curious about Online Spilling the Ink, but not sure about the technology or what it will feel like to write with other people online, I understand. Taking a writing course is a big enough leap in itself, let alone taking it online with new people and a new technology. It’s a big commitment of time and money. So, I’d like to invite you to come to a free taster session. You’ll get a sense of who I am and what Spilling the Ink is about. In addition, you’ll see what it’s like to use the technology and can ask any questions.

I’m offering two free workshops during August and September: 

  • Sunday 6 Aug, 16.00 – 17.30 UK time

  • Sunday 10 Sept, 16.00 – 17.30 UK time

(Here’s a handy time-zone converter to work out when those are for you.)

Why am I offering online workshops? 

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Online courses appeal to me for several reasons: they are a way to be a part of something without needing to travel far, they offer a chance to define ourselves in a way outside usual routines, and they have resulted in wonderful friendships. Depending on how we navigate it, the internet can be a place of contact or isolation. For me, small online courses have created sacred spaces in a rather busy virtual world.

Since last August, I have been running online, live writing workshops and have so enjoyed the opportunity to bring the faraway nearby. Each time it feels like we open unexpected and welcoming windows. Initially, the workshops were an experiment. Now I feel they've grown to be another way of having my Writing Circles bring more people together.


Why is it a live workshop? 

While I’ve enjoyed each online course I’ve taken, the ones I loved most were the ones that included an opportunity to meet in real time, such as a live phone call or an active Facebook group. The act of coming together during our writing or discussion, even if miles and time zones apart, was the glue that combined our separate experiences to create community.

Creating community is at the heart of my Writing Circles. I love creating spaces where we can witness and support each others’ writing. My many years in the classroom have taught me to value what participants can offer each other in addition to the structures I create through facilitation. There is a special alchemy that arises when we come together to write that brings out ideas and voices in a way I haven’t found in courses when there is no live connection or when working solely one-to-one.

What about the technology?

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In order to bring Spilling the Ink online, I use a reliable technology that allows us to meet while being in separate places. The video application ZOOM has proven to be versatile, stable and user-friendly. Through the year, we've had well over twenty sessions, sometimes supporting video feeds from writers on opposite sides of the globe. There have been very few technical glitches and many wonderful connections.

Before the course starts, I send instructions on how to download ZOOM(it’s free and I’m happy to guide you through it with via phone). You can use ZOOM on a computer, ipad/tablet, or smart phone.The main requirement is to have some sort of video capability. During each session, we spend a little time working out the bells and whistles of the technology and a lot of time writing, sharing, and responding.

READY TO TRY IT OUT?

REGISTER HERE - I CAN'T WAIT TO WRITE WITH YOU!

Name *
Name
Which Online Taster Session? *
Select the session you'd like to attend. (There’s a handy time-zone converter at the top of the page to work out when those are for you.)

 

 

 

Curious about Online Spilling the Ink? Try out a free taster workshop!

spilling-the-ink-red-border.jpg

If you’re curious about Online Spilling the Ink, but not sure about the technology or what it will feel like to write with other people online, I understand. Taking a writing course is a big enough leap in itself, let alone taking it online with new people and a new technology. It’s a big commitment of time and money. So, I’d like to invite you to come to a free taster session. You’ll get a sense of who I am and what Spilling the Ink is about. In addition, you’ll see what it’s like to use the technology and can ask any questions.

I’m offering two free workshops during August and September: 

  • Sunday 6 Aug, 16.00-17.30 UK time
  • Sunday 10 Sept, 16.00 – 17.30 UK time

(Here’s a handy time-zone converter to work out when those are for you.)

Why am I offering online workshops? 

20150611_103826-e1469471223893.jpg

Online courses appeal to me for several reasons: they are a way to be a part of something without needing to travel far, they offer chance to define myself in a new way outside my usual routines, and they have resulted in wonderful friendships. Depending on how we navigate it, the internet can be a place of contact or isolation. For me, small online courses have created sacred spaces in a rather busy virtual world.

Since last August, I have been running online, live writing workshops and have so enjoyed the opportunity to bring the faraway nearby. Each time it feels like we open unexpected and welcoming windows. Initially, the workshops were an experiment. Now I feel they've grown to be another way of having my Writing Circles bring more people together.

Why is it a live workshop? 

While I’ve enjoyed each online course I’ve taken, the ones I loved most were the ones that included an opportunity to meet in real time, such as a live phone call or an active Facebook group. The act of coming together during our writing or discussion, even if miles and time zones apart, was the glue that combined our separate experiences to create community.

Creating community is at the heart of my Writing Circles. I love creating spaces where we can witness and support each others’ writing. My many years in the classroom have taught me to value what participants can offer each other in addition to the structures I create through facilitation. There is a special alchemy that arises when we come together to write that brings out ideas and voices in a way I haven’t found in courses when there is no live connection or when working solely one-to-one.

What about the technology?

screen-shot-2016-08-02-at-21-00-02.jpg
img_1933.jpg

In order to bring Spilling the Ink online, I use a reliable technology that allows us to meet while being in separate places. The video application ZOOM has proven to be versatile, stable and user-friendly. Through the year, we've had well over 20 sessions, sometimes supporting video feeds from writers on opposite sides of the globe. There have been very few technical glitches and many wonderful connections.

Before the course starts, I send instructions on how to download ZOOM(it’s free and I’m happy to guide you through it with via phone). You can use ZOOM on a computer, ipad/tablet, or smart phone.The main requirement is to have some sort of video capability. During each session, we spend a little time working out the bells and whistles of the technology and a lot of time writing, sharing, and responding.

READY TO TRY IT OUT?

REGISTER HERE - I CAN'T WAIT TO WRITE WITH YOU!

Name *
Name
Which Online Taster Session? *
Select the session you'd like to attend.

 

 

 

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

Not Just for Writers

20150611_103704 Who will come?

When I first started my Writing Circles, this was one of the biggest questions in my mind. Who would want to participate in a writing community where we would be sharing fledgling words, witnessing each others’ growth, and learning together as we went along?

As I put adverts in local village magazines and stuck posters up on notice boards and telephone poles, I felt like I was calling out, “Welcome!  Please join me, whoever you are, wherever you are!  You know who you are, even if I don’t.”

Slowly and surely, names and registrations started trickling in.  Who were these people? A scientist, a nurse, a yoga teacher...

Read more at my guest blog post over at What Now, What Next! You'll also find information about a chance to join me in an online taster session of Spilling the Ink on 22 Sept.

And while you're there, take a look around. What Now, What Next is a collaborative network of women 40+ who are leveraging their experience to launch & grow new ventures. There are conversations and community about topics ranging from careers to family to creativity and much more. If you are a woman entrepreneur, you can promote your brand, business & expertise with a FREE web page in a growing community. 

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.