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

Harvest

September is often a time of change and beginnings.  Around here, it’s the start of a new school for my son, new activities for my daughter, and a lot of travel for new projects for my husband. September is also a time of harvest. A time to gather the ripened fruits and grains of the year, savour some, store some for the winter, and collect seeds for next year’s planting. A time to look at the fields and consider which need rotation, which need rest, and which are ready for winter crops.

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This year, I find I’m more in harvest mode than new beginnings mode.

Last year was fruitful: In September, the first Writing Circle gathered and set the tone for a programme that I am both proud of and honoured to facilitate.  Spring and summer saw two more groups assemble, each time with faces both familiar and new, and each time with writing that was vibrant and so very exciting to see emerge.

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As for my own writing, I filled 8 journals with freehand musings. How many words? The calculation is interesting: approximately 8 journals x 200 pages per journal x 20 lines per page x 6 words per line = 192,000 words. Surely there must be a few lines worth keeping from that hoard.  (To compare, a typical novel is » 90,000 words, probably preceded by many thousands of others that didn’t make the cut).

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As my family all settle into their new routines (and I help them navigate those transitions), I have decided to take time to tend to the past year’s writing harvest. Time to sort, mill, mix, knead and proof those words. I’m still enough of a scientist to know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It only changes forms, and the transformation I’m choosing is from generating raw material and excitement to working with what I have in hand. So many words. Perhaps each is a grain.

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It’s time to let the fields rest, so that come 2016, the soil will be full of nutrients for Writing Circles to come.  Because it is not the season for sowing, I have decided to postpone this autumn’s sessions of Spilling the Ink and Continuing the Craft. Please come back in a few months to see what offerings will be available in the new year.

In the meantime, what will you be harvesting this autumn?

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.