Work With Me

May Writing Challenge: The Religion of Water

Four week email based writing challenge with tiered pricing.

Starts Monday 1st May 2023

Philip Larkin

If I were called in
To construct a religion
I should make use of water.
Going to church
Would entail a fording
To dry, different clothes;
My liturgy would employ
Images of sousing,
A furious devout drench,
And I should raise in the east
A glass of water
Where any-angled light
Would congregate endlessly.

How do we worship water? In this four week writing challenge you will be encouraged to immerse your creative self in a watery world where you will be provided with poems, museum artefacts, videos and music as part of a set of creative prompts to develop your own writing. We’ll be looking at the physical act of immersion; the cleansing rituals of bathing, swimming. We’ll be looking at water as deity, as a place for offerings, how we send our wishes into the watery depths. The focus of this four week challenge is how we interact with water on an emotional, spiritual and sensory level, from simple splashes at the seaside, to more deeply felt water rituals. Each week will cover a loose theme for you to work through, with brief notes and guidance on how to tackle your own poetry, all delivered directly to your inbox.

Are You Ready to Challenge Yourself to Write?

This course is suitable for all levels of writer. In my experience as a facilitator, mentor and writer I have found that prompt courses and writing challenges are an excellent way to engage the creative brain and jump-start one’s writing. This writing challenge is designed to do just that, using stimulating prompts that will activate your own writing potential.

Challenge Yourself to Put Your Writing First

Every person’s life is different, with different commitments and responsibilities. The challenge is to find a way to put your writing first, whether that’s every day, once a week or sporadically over the course of the four weeks. Making a commitment to yourself and your work as a writer is important. This writing challenge will help you to do that.

Photo by Bich Tran on

How You’ll Benefit

  • You’ll be provided with a range of poems and interesting material to support your writing.
  • You choose what level of interaction you need to fulfil your personal writing challenge, whether that is simply receiving the email prompts, or being a part of a community of writers working towards the same goals. You can even take it one step further and have a one to one and direct feedback from myself.
  • You’ll be making a psychological commitment to value your work and your voice.
  • You’ll be improving your work and challenging yourself to work in different ways.

About Me

I am an author, editor, creative writing facilitator and founder of Spelt Magazine. I have more than seven years experience as a mentor, editor and creative writing facilitator. I am the author of three full collections of poetry and two pamphlets. My most recent collection, When I Think of My Body as a Horse, was winner of the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet award. I am an Arts Council England and Society of Authors work in progress literary grant recipient and have taught creative writing in universities and at literary festivals. I am known for providing warm and encouraging spaces for writers of all levels to find their own creativity.

author photo courtesy of James Thackeray

How it Works

Each week is themed. You will receive three emails per week. The Monday email will introduce the theme for the week with suggestions of resources that might help you to tackle the up coming prompts. On Wednesdays and Fridays you will receive your writing prompts.


  • On Booking – You will receive confirmation of your place within two days of booking.
  • 28th May – Those who have signed up for the facebook and zoom options will receive their facebook and zoom invites.
  • 1st May – first notes arrive, and continue to arrive Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays up to the 26th May
  • Tuesday 2nd May – Goal Setting Social – 45 minute zoom in which we’ll get to know each other and chat about goals for the four weeks. 6pm to 6.45pm UK time
  • Wednesday 31st May – 1 hour group social and open mic. Come and end the month in style with readings of work written during May. 6pm-7pm UK time.

How to Book Your Place

This writing challenge has three tiers. Please click on your preferred PayPal button. If you don’t have PayPal, please contact me on to arrange a bank transfer.

  1. Email Only. £25

For those who wish to work alone, this is the perfect option. No facebook, no zoom, just high quality prompts and notes delivered directly to your inbox.

The Religion of Water – Email Only

Four weeks of high quality prompts and notes delivered direct to your email inbox.


2. Email, Facebook and Zoom. £50. PLACES LIMITED

For those who want a community experience this option includes four weeks of high quality prompts and notes delivered direct to your inbox, a zoom ‘goal setting social’ at the beginning of the month and an ‘open mic’ get together at the end of the month. It also includes access to the closed facebook group where you will be able to share work, offer critique and occasionally receive some basic feedback and encouragement from myself. The places on this tier are limited.

The Religion of Water: Email, Facebook, Zoom

Four weeks of high quality notes and prompts delivered direct to your inbox, a zoom goal setting social at the beginning of the month and a zoom open mic at the end of the month. Access to the closed facebook group.


3. The Feedback Option – Email, Facebook, Zoom plus a 30 minute one to one to discuss your poems and your progress. PLACES LIMITED

This option is for the writer who wishes to move their work forward. You will receive four weeks of email prompts and notes delivered direct to your email, be invited to the zoom goal setting social and end of month open mic, have access to the closed facebook group and at the end of the course we will set up a 1-2-1 zoom meet up to discuss your work and your goals. This option would suit those wishing to be published and/or enter their work into competitions, or even those working towards pamphlet and collection publication. I will feedback on your work and guide you towards resources and strategies that will help to move your work forward. You will receive specific feedback on up to three poems. Places Limited.

The Religion of Water: Feedback Option

Four weeks of high quality notes and prompts delivered direct to your inbox, a zoom goal setting social at the beginning of the month and a zoom open mic at the end of the month. Access to the closed facebook group. Plus a private 1-2-1 with myself to discuss your work with feedback on up to three poems.



  1. I am a complete beginner, I have never written poetry, is this course for me? While this writing challenge won’t tell you how to write poems, any terminology used will be linked to explanations. The best way to learn is to do, and you will be able to dive straight in (pun intended) with this four week challenge.
  2. Can I pay for the zoom events separately? Unfortunately, to keep admin to a minimum (which helps keep the costs down) there are only the options stated.
  3. Will the zoom events be recorded? I will not be recording the zoom events in order to protect the privacy of participants.
  4. Can I share the prompts with people who have not paid? It’s inevitable and understandable that, at some point, prompts will be shared between friends and writing groups etc. However, please do not do so while the writing challenge is ‘live’. The writing challenges and courses that I run involve a great deal of work and it is not fair on me, or the people who have paid for the four week challenge to share to people who haven’t paid. Sharing the prompts devalues my work, both literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, anyone found to be either sharing the prompts as if they had written them, or sharing them with people who have not paid for the course will be asked to leave the course and further action may be taken. This is to protect my intellectual property and my income.
  5. Do I have to come along to every event? No, is the short answer. You may not be someone who enjoys zoom, but enjoys facebook and vice versa, and that’s fine! the structure of the writing challenge means that the facebook page and zoom events are extras rather than essentials to the writing challenge.
  6. If I share a poem in the Facebook group, is it classed as ‘published’ meaning I can’t then go on and submit it? The Facebook group is closed and not open to the public, members are there by invitation. This means that work shared int he group is not classed as published and can be sent out for submission to magazines and competitions.
  7. Can you give me feedback on my work? I can only offer critique (on three poems) as part of the feedback option. However, being a part of the facebook group means you will be able to give and receive feedback from your peers, facilitated and moderated by myself. You may receive some basic guidance and encouragement from me in the Facebook group.
  8. How much time do I need to allocate for this course? Because this is a writing challenge, rather than a traditional course, you can work at your own pace. You don’t have to write to the prompts every week, but the prompts are there to keep your momentum going. It is entirely up to you how much time you want to allocate to the materials provided. Some people like to try and write two poems a week, other people simply collect the prompts and work at their own pace. If you are signed up to the facebook group, that group will stay open after the writing challenge is over. The ‘goal setting social’ at the beginning of the challenge will help you to identify the best way to manage your writing time.

Bursary Places and Donating a Place

I have one bursary – free- place on each tier for a writer in need of financial support. Please do drop me a line at to apply. Donations of places for less fortunate writers are gratefully received. Please book using the PayPal buttons, and then email me to let me know you have donated, thank you!