writing groups

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?

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 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.)

 

 

 

Maps and journeys - the view from halfway there

We’re just over halfway through this round of Continuing the Craft, my Writing Circle for writers with a work in progress.

Six weeks ago, we started off by creating mind maps of what our projects might look like.  We allowed ourselves to dream big and invite possibility on to the page.  In order to have enough space, we used Big Paper.  Here we are, creating our maps during the first session:

 
 

Afterwards, I collected up the maps and hid them away in the back of some closet in my house.

Each Friday since, we’ve spilled a lot of ink. We’ve explored themes and archetypes, inhabited crucial moments, had coffees with our characters, and rooted our work in setting.  On non-Fridays, we’ve made and kept promises to ourselves to write. We’ve caught tiny butterflies with butterfly nets and chased ideas up trees and down the blank page.  We’re at a good pausing point.  It’s time check our bearings. Yesterday, I brought the maps back.

As the writers reacquainted themselves with their maps, I asked them what had changed, what was missing, what was no longer there. I asked them to tell me about the differences between a map and a landscape, or to meditate on the relationship between a map and a journey. I asked if anyone had moved off their maps and where they were going next.

Here is What we found:

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One person whose ideas declined being mapped during the first session arrived with a map yesterday. And in her rolled-up, slightly-crushed map (as any self-respecting map should be), she introduced the idea of a time circle, instead of a time line. There was a collective gasp of inspiration as she shared her simple graphic.  Aha!  the writers seemed to say, in recognition of a good idea.


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Another writer’s project had started off in the form of various lists. But the lists kept suggesting a hierarchy that felt like too many stacked stumbling blocks. Having made some progress, but needing a different kind of flow, she decided that it was time to invent the wheel. She recast this phase of her project accordingly, noting the roles of the hub, rim and spokes.


One person who had started with a circle many weeks ago reported that the circle is now rolling, has become a wheel. She hitched up her ideas to this engine and it’s all chugging along, exhaust clouds and all. Her map now has mile markers and signs pointing the way to the ‘Pat on the Back Café’ - recognising that progress, while not always easy and often circuitous, gets you moving towards places you want to be.

I was delighted by this preponderance of circles.

There is one  writer who has moved off her map. I recall that her original map started in the middle of the page, but the densest population of ideas floated up to the top right hand corner. Sure enough, yesterday she needed a new piece of Big Paper for a new map. We think she’ll be located somewhere to the northeast of her original map.

And several, while not changing their maps too much on the surface, have found that the two-dimensional assurance of starting out has turned into the multi-dimensional swirl of tensions between fiction and non-fiction, difficult choices about what to include and what to leave out, and ownership of story. Maps have their uses and times.  At the moment, for these writers, the maps may stay folded up in their back pockets. They’ll get them out when they need them.

When I launched this course in September, I had a map.

I still use it. But I had no idea how exciting it would be to watch these projects take shape, emerging bit by bit.  It’s been so very rewarding.  The landscape and the journey are so much more than the map ever could be. I’m enamoured of the creative processes I get to see. Each week, I aim to create a space that makes it possible for each writer to continue the craft.

 
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Soon I will be announcing Writing Circles for Winter 2017!

I’m planning and mapping and dreaming, all the while knowing that the real events will add dimensions I can’t yet imagine.

I can tell you this much, though: I’ve booked Harston Hall for Spilling the Ink on Tuesday mornings and Continuing the Craft on Friday mornings.  The online Writing Circle will span 9 weeks and with a video link every other Sunday.  Details to come in a week or so.

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.