Season of Mists 2019 – starting 1st October

brown leaf trees on forest
Photo by Valiphotos on Pexels.com

I’m re-running the Season of Mists course, with all new prompts. It was very popular last year and it had such a lovely warm and supportive atmosphere, it made a real impression on me. I hope you’ll join me, maybe for the second time!

I have opened it up to poetry, creative non fiction and fiction writing too, and it includes access to the closed Facebook group. For those who have never attended one of my online courses, this is how it works:

  1. Sign up and pay via PayPal (full instructions further down this page)
  2. Once signed up you will receive a welcome letter with a link to the closed FB group. The closed group allows you to share your work with others in a completely closed environment, allowing you the benefit of group feedback without damaging your potential for publication and competition entry further down the line.
  3. On the first of the month you will begin to receive lesson plans and a daily prompt directly into your inbox. These are yours to keep forever.
  4. Have fun. This is a no pressure course where you can do as much or as little as you wish. The focus is on getting writing and exploring the topics and themes. There isn’t even any pressure to join in on the closed Facebook group, though I would recommend it; to date all the FB groups have been supportive and fun.

 

Ah, autumn. It’s almost upon us. We’ve got the darker nights and the turning leaves, the elderberries just waiting to be made into wine and the sloes just waiting to be made into sloe gin (bit of a theme emerging here) but it’s still riding on the tail end of summer. It’s a strange time of year, after the buzz and flurry of constant bird song, fledglings, flowers, crops, and sunshine it’s almost a sheer drop when we find that it’s dark by 7pm, and it’s raining and you wake up to the sound of the heating coming on, and then you notice the birds aren’t singing anymore, and the stillness and quiet gets under your skin. I feel particularly peaceful at this time of year. It’s a time of year for re-evaluating life goals. In fact, I make better resolutions in autumn than I do in the New Year. I’m lucky enough being self employed to be able to take a break from work and get outside to walk the dog during the day time. We either go down onto the beach, or round the back lanes and farms or sometimes down Forge Valley. I feel like the world belongs only to me and I take great pleasure in my time out in the fresh air. But I also miss the summer. I miss the ease of summer clothes, not really needing make up because the sun does such a good job keeping my skin tanned and fresh looking, I miss sitting out and snoozing to the sound of bees.

Of course, any change in season is a reflection of time passing: age approaches, the years go quicker, our opportunities to do the things we want to do get fewer. As a social animal, especially in this age of instantaneity and immediacy, it’s difficult to not feel angry or frustrated over the changes we see, in the world, in society, in ourselves. There’s so much pressure to do everything while we’re young, and then it’s almost as if, post forty, you start to disappear, and by fifty you’re obsolete. Newspapers and magazines seem to have the sole aim of making us feel old, and advising us on how to fool the world into appearing ten years younger, because who wants to be their age and be obsolete? We’re on the outside of the pack, suddenly, and vulnerable to attack, we’d be picked off in the zombie apocalypse.

There is power in acceptance of change, there is power in allowing ourselves to be angry, there is power in sodding the rules and doing whatever you want to do despite what society thinks of you.

 

About Season of Mists

In this online poetry workshop/course we’ll look at change and how it affects us. We’ll look at change in the seasons, in nature, in animals and plants, we’ll look at the frustrations of a changing society, and the way that we are manipulated by societal pressures. We’ll look at our own personal stories of change, our own anger and our own acceptance, and we’ll write warrior poems and celebration poems and poems that tell it how it is. Each week there will be a ‘lesson plan’ in which we’ll look at a poem or two by published, emerging and established authors and we’ll work our week’s writing around them. Each day you will receive a writing prompt directly to your inbox. You’ll also be invited to join a closed facebook group, which is a safe place to share poems and chat to other course participants.

You don’t need to be in the facebook group, lots of the previous course participants did not join the facebook group, nor do you need to produce anything finished, or anything at all for that matter. The prompts are there for you to choose to use or not, there is no pressure at all.

Payment Tiers

For this course, and all future courses, I am bringing in a method of tiered payment, a ‘pay what you can’ method which relies on the honesty of course attendees. There are three payment levels: £20, £40 and £60. There is also the option to sponsor another place at the price level of your choice so that I can support disadvantaged writers.

Why I have given the option to pay more

Lots of previous attendees have told me, during feedback sessions, that they would have paid much more for one of these courses, comparing it to other courses available to them. But at the same time, lots of people have told me they were grateful for the lower cost as it meant they could afford to develop their writing within their own means. I am from a working class background and still live in a working class town. There’s a grey area when it comes to WC folk, and it’s the place where almost everyone I know lives – the place where you are certainly not living in poverty, but you can’t justify retreats, courses or workshops because there is always something else (Christmas, birthdays etc).
It’s my opinion that everyone should have access to exploring their world through the arts, creative writing is my niche and in a world in which the arts are being slowly eroded, where funding is reduced and reduced, I feel I need to do something practical to help people like me, from my background. At the same time, as a working class writer and workshop facilitator, I need to be able to pay my bills and continue doing the things that I have trained for. Hence the option to pay more if you feel you can.

 

Don’t forget, you can sponsor a place on the course for an underprivileged writer. It’s not going to change the world, but it will make a difference to someone’s month. Here’s what one of the previous sponsors had to say:

“I am not by any means well off however when I was out of work in 2016 it was the kindness of others who supported me and my passion of writing. By me now working full time again sponsoring anonymously someone else who is struggling financially made me feel like I was creating a room to grow for a writer which we all need. Wendy is also for me one of the bravest and talented writers active in the UK and as she has not lost sight of her working class roots how can anyone else look away if they can spend £20 on a sponsored place it makes so much difference to someone”

I know from experience how difficult it is to work out which level is right for you, so I have put some guidance together, below. I’ve based my reasoning mainly on the value of £20 in relation to  food and alcohol for some reason:

Sponsored Place – 

If £20 is a half or full week’s food shopping, or you would need to make a choice between the course and essentials, then you are most likely entitled to a sponsored place. I have FIVE sponsored places so far for this course and there may be more. Get in touch wendyprattfreelancewriter@gmail.com for a chat. I don’t interrogate, this is an honesty system and giving writers a leg up is important.

£20 

If £20 is what you might spend on a takeaway and a bottle of wine, this is probably the tier for you. Also, if you’ve not done one of my courses before, feel free to pay £20 to see if you enjoy it, and if this is your second time around on this course, this is the payment option for you.

£40

If £20 is what you spend on a bottle of wine and a nice bar of chocolate, the forty pound tier sounds about right for you.

£60

If twenty pounds is the amount that you might put into a charity box, or a church collection, then this is probably the tier for you.

YOU CAN SPONSOR A PLACE

Even if you aren’t interested in doing the course, you can still sponsor a place and give a leg up to a writer who has hit hard times and can’t justify the disposable income for a creative writing course. If you ARE doing the course, you can also sponsor an extra place. You might choose to pay £40 for yourself and sponsor a £20 place, you might be an absolute angel and pay £60 and still sponsor a £20 place, you might be a virtual saint and sponsor two £60 places. It’s up to you. Mix and match.

INSTRUCTIONS

Please follow carefully, especially the bit about giving me the correct email address!
  1. Go to PayPal and make a payment at the tier you have chosen to wendycatpratt@yahoo.co.uk  Please add a note containing the email address you wish the course prompts to come to. Also, if you’re sponsoring a place, add a comment so that I know! Please do let me know if paypal isn’t an option for you and we’ll sort something out.
  2. I will send a brief welcome letter to that address to make sure the address works, this will also contain a link to the closed Facebook group, so don’t panic if you can’t find it on facebook.
  3. Request to join the Facebook group Season of Mists 2019 . If you can’t find it, or there are any problems, drop me a line at wendyprattfreelancewriter@gmail.com and we’ll get it all sorted out before September starts.
  4. That’s it. It should be quite straight forward, but again, let me know if you have any questions or are experiencing any problems and I’ll endeavour to get it all sorted.
  5. Everything will arrive via email.

Have fun!

Spaces are limited so please book as early as possible.

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