Saturday, 26 June 2010

Giveaway Winners

The winner of the Bring Yourself giveaway for a place  on the Handmade Writer e-course is .... Caiti. (I used to pick the winner.) Thank you to everyone for your wonderful responses to my question.
The winner of the Kind Over Matter giveaway is Marybeth.

You still have until Sunday to enter the giveaway on Our City Lights.
I am getting very excited about the e-course starting on Monday. I'm so looking forward to meeting all the lovely writers who have signed up so far. There are still a few spaces available so if you want to enroll you still have time.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Three Chances to Win

Happy Summer Solstice! The sun is shining and I want to run around barefoot and eat honeycomb ice cream. 

There is just one week to go until the summer session of the Handmade Writer e-course starts on 28th June. If you want to spend your summer writing then this course just might be perfect for you. You will find oodles of encouragement, plenty of creative stimulus and I will (gently) critique every word you write. That, plus sunshine, sounds good to me. 
To celebrate both the run-up to the course and the summertime, I have partnered up with Diana at Our City Lights and Jenn and Amanda at Kind Over Matter to offer you three chances to win a place on the summer session of the Handmade Writer e-course.

Here's what you do:

1. Go over to visit Diana at Our City Lights and leave a comment telling her why you would benefit from a place on the Handmade Writer e-course. You have until Sunday 27th June to enter.

2. Go over to Kind Over Matter and leave a for comment for Jenn and Amanda telling them your absolute favourite part of summer. You have until noon on Friday 25th June to enter.  

3. Leave me a comment here, telling me about the piece of writing that most inspires you. This could be your favourite book, a poem that makes your heart beat faster or a memoir that makes you cry. You have until Friday 25th June to enter.

You can enter all three giveaways if you want.

Of course, if you want to sign up to Handmade Writer right away, you can do that here.

If you want more information about the e-course to see if it's right for you go here. If you want to read what people have said about the e-course so far, go here.

I can't wait to welcome you onto the e-course and get the summer of writing started.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Back to Learning

I haven't been documenting my learning for the Learn  Something Project as much as I intended. At first, I thought that it was because I wasn't learning anything at all. Then, I realised that it was because I have been learning so much that it has been impossible to decide what to share.

Over the past few months, I have spent most of my time learning. I passed my PhD upgrade panel last week after submitting 40,000 words. Phew! That involved some serious concentration and, yep, quite a bit of learning. Running the Handmade Writer e-course has been a huge learning experience. It is a wonderful, challenging experience but, for me, it has been all about learning how to engage people with writing and support their creative development.

Oh, and I am learning about experimental art and am still trying to learn how to play the accordion.

So, now I am trying to slow down a bit. I want to pay attention to what I am learning. I want to find a bit more space for thinking. I plan to start documenting it again.

Today, I learned the sometimes I need to start with the most different thing first. Every single day, there is something on my to-do list that I don't want to do. It could be an email that I need to send or a phone call that I need to make but it scares me. I avoid it. Often I have no idea why that one particular task bothers me so much but it does. So, starting today, I am going to do that thing first. The difficult thing will be the first thing I cross off the list. I did it today and it feels great. 

What have you learned recently that might help you work better?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Experimental Art E-Course

I am excited to be taking the Experimental Art E-course, which starts on Monday. Thanks to a wonderful suggestion by it's creator, Amelia Critchlow, (that's her collage featured opposite) I am enrolled and ready to go.

Although I spend part of each week engaging people with visual art through creative writing, I never create any artwork myself. I am comfortable with craft but the idea of producing visual art still daunts me.

So, as part of my commitment to try new things, I am jumping straight into the Experimental Art  E-Course. I am ready to experiment and challenge myself. I can't wait.

If you want to join Amelia's course, there's still time. To sign up, go here.

Thursday, 10 June 2010


Sometimes when I go to an art gallery it challenges me to see everything differently. I start paying attention to things around me in the gallery. I notice all the spaces between the art work. Everything starts to look like art - even the light switches, the floor boards and the window frames. I leave the art gallery and everything around me looks different. The world is suddenly brighter, bolder, more detailed.

I went to glorious exhibition last week when I visited my brother in Cambridge. The artist, Maggie Hambling, had created the most wonderful paintings inspired by the north sea. She had captured these huge, powerful waves at the moment between rising up and crashing down. They made me giddy and as I traveled home everything I saw reminded me of the waves.

Friday, 4 June 2010


I am nosy. If I were being nice, I would say that I am curious, observant or that I pay attention. But really I know it is nosiness that makes me listen in to conversations on the bus or in a cafe. That's why I was so delighted when I read about the Bugged project. They understand that eavedropping is part of being a writer and have organised a creative happening to celebrate.

Between the 1st July and 15th August, they want everyone to try eavesdropping and then create a piece of writing inspired by what they overhear. The Bugged team will feature the best writing on their website and publish an anthology. 

I love the idea that during the project there will be people everywhere listening in to conversations. I will definitely be joining in and maybe someone will overhear something I say and write about it.

Have you ever written anything based on something you have overheard?

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Handmade Writer E-Course - Summer Session

After a wonderfully received first session, the Handmade Writer e-course is
returning for a six week summer session. This is a perfect chance to spend
your summer daydreaming and writing. You will be encouraged to take a 
playful approach to creative writing as you are challenged to explore your 
life and the world around you. You will find a unique creative community 
and get individual critical feedback on your writing.

The Handmade Writer e-course will help you gather together material from
every source imaginable. You will learn about the craft of writing and how
to sew these fragments together to build your own pieces of creative writing.
The e-course has been inspired by the strength of craft communities as well
as the impulse to transform everyday finds into something amazing.

I am a author and experienced workshop leader and will be your tutor during
the six week e-course. I will set you a writing project at the beginning of
each week send you twice weekly creative challenges and keep you supplied
with enough creative stimulus to keep your imagination buzzing. I will read
every word you write and give you critical feedback on all your work, including
suggestions on how to develop your writing further.

The summer e-course begins on Monday 28th June and costs £60/ $87 (based
on current exchange rates.) Enrollment is open now. Places are limited to
make sure everyone gets individual attention.
For more details and to enroll on the e-course go here.

I have had some lovely feedback on the last session of the Handmade Writer 
e-course. You can read it here.