Every year I walk into January with my head in the clouds, expecting all my New Year plans to fall perfectly into place. It’s like I forget that January is one of my busiest months as a freelance writer, not only am I catching up on December’s work because I dared to have a a few days off, but I am setting things in place to ensure future projects are nailed down and diarised. So forgive me for not managing to update my website or start the series of mini videos I’d planned (is it a vlog? I don’t know, I’m past forty so everything involving technology is beginning to be scary and confusing) These things are coming. In February I will be investing in some tools to help me get the most out of my website, and to set up the videos in a more professional manner. Trial and error has shown me I need a proper microphone and probably some lighting for them to work. By March I should have upgraded the website to add a chat room function and closed members area so that I can finally let go of my reliance on Facebook which is irritatingly glitchy and leaves me at the whim of facebook management changes. I should have an automated newsletter set up too, so you can sign up for updates on the online courses, but not this month! January, like I say is a phenomenally busy month. To give you an idea of what I have been doing this month, and so I can feel good about surviving it, here’s a little list. This month I have mostly been:
- Running the current online course
- Applying for a university place
- Applying for a Full uni scholarship
- Applying for a small ACE grant to help me with marketing for the play – script in hand reading in Huddersfield, details to follow!
- Putting issue 40 of Dream Catcher magazine together
- Applying for a big commssion
- Catching up on book work
- The dreaded tax return
Also trying to get to the gym more, eat better and not drink at all. It has been a ridiculous month in which it feels like everything is competing for priority. Still, half way through the month and I’m nearly through the list. February should be less chaotic but I’ll be sitting on my jangling nerves waiting on news on nearly all the above. Sigh.
That’s the end of my busy boast/slight mental break down. On to news of the new course/s.
I’ve decided, in February, to re-run not one but two previous courses, with some updates and new prompts for both. One of the courses involves detailed critique and ‘homework’ and is therefore more involved. It’s called ‘How to Write a Poem’ and details are below. There are very very limited spaces on this one and it’s a fixed price to reflect the amount of work involved and the small group, close contact nature of the course. The other course is my prompt a day Approaching Your Writing with a Beginner’s Mind course, details below. This one is a popular one and perfect for putting good self care habits around your writing. You can sign up for both using the PayPal button in my Shop if your email address is different to your PayPal address, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org . And do get in touch with questions or queries.
Here are the details for both courses:
Approaching Your Writing with a Beginner’s Mind
Do you remember why you began writing? If you close your eyes and settle your mind, can you remember the feelings you experienced when writing your first story, your first poem or even when you read your first book? Does the process still spark the same joy?
In this month long, online course you will be invited to reconnect with your beginner’s mind and explore your creative process not from a new perspective, but from an old perspective, casting off the self doubts and worry that often accompany the writing process and embracing the mind of the beginner.
What is the beginner’s mind? The expert’s mind is full of knowledge, it knows about technique and is widely read, the experts mind is full of purpose and definition but is also constrained by them, worrying about ‘getting it right’. The beginner’s mind is open to new experiences, new ways of looking at the world, the beginner’s mind is free to express itself. In the beginner’s mind, creativity is the key part of the writing process.
This four week course/online workshop will help you reconnect with your beginner’s mind. Each week you will receive a ‘lesson plan’ with a simple mindfulness meditation exercise to try, a weekly writing focus, resources, writing examples, tips and guidance. You’ll also receive a daily, optional, creativity prompt to help stimulate your writing potential. These will be delivered directly to your inbox. There will be a closed Facebook group, which is optional, where course attendees can chat, exchange ideas and share work for gentle and constructive criticism.
Ready to embrace your beginner’s mind? Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. The course begins on 1st February.
How to Sign Up
I now have a simple payment method in my shop where you can make a payment to sign up. If the email address you want your course materials sent to is different to your PayPal address, let me know by emailing me at email@example.com. To make things fair, and to make sure that my courses are available to those on lower incomes, I have a tiered pricing system. Details below. And don’t forget, you can sponsor a place for a writer who doesn’t have the money to sign up. What a great gift that would be! I currently have zero sponsored places.
Why I have given the option to pay more
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How to Write a Poem Course
The course starts on February 1st and lasts for four weeks, finishing on February 29th. There will be two lesson plans per week which include homework assignments.
Included in the course is personal critique of four poems per course participant, worth £32. You can choose whether these are poems which you have developed on the course, or something from another project that you’re working on. There will be a closed facebook group to chat, share ideas, share poem drafts and critique of each other’s work, but as always, this is not mandatory.
One of the things that I have noticed while running previous courses, and workshops and when mentoring, is that people worry that they haven’t had any ‘formal training’ as a poet. There is a fear that every other poet you will ever meet has been to poetry university and learned the secrets to writing a poem. In actual fact, there are far more ‘untrained’ poets than poets that have any formal education and you certainly do not need to have a university degree to write a poem. The aim of this course is to get the writer past their imposter syndrome. It’s perfect for those lacking confidence in their ability, good for beginners and also good for those wanting to refresh and get writing again.
briefly, the course covers:
Getting From Inspiration to First Draft
Developing exercises and techniques to actually get pen to paper. We’ll look at how and where inspiration can come from, the role of the poet and getting a first draft down without wanting to burn it immediately.
Working in Structured Form
We’ll be looking at a few different forms, and how to write in them. We’ll look at putting older forms into context and how and when to use form, how to choose a form for your poem and not to let the poem be consumed by the form.
Working in Free Verse
The course will look at the natural rhythms and structures of free verse, the use or non use of punctuation. We’ll look at poems which push out of their boundaries as well as looking at line breaks, and the tools in the poets work box.
Smoothing the Edges
The course will also look at editing, what to kill and what to keep, how to develop a critical eye and how to stop editing. The course will also, briefly, look at finding an outlet for your poems, how to write a cover letter and how to keep a good record of submissions.
There is no tiered payment method for this course. You can book a place on the course via the PayPal button in my Shop remember to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if your email address is different to your PayPal address, and drop me a line if you have any questions.