Hello and welcome to the Creative Writing edition of #Daneyblogs. I’m going to turn this blank blog page into a creative space for sharing with you what I learned from the inspiring, ideas-stirring, ‘I didn’t want it to end’ creative writing course.
The Creative Changes course was hosted by the lovely Joanna Tindall, an experienced English teacher, on behalf of health & well-being focussed organisation, Changes Musselburgh. It was an absolute gem and I’m so glad I attended.
So, just what did I get out of attending Creative Changes?
· Firstly and foremost, I faced one of my biggest fears…. Seeing a blank piece of white paper…and a question attached..
In the past I’ve been prone to panic at the sight of blank paper, I’ve been left with that knot in my stomach and watched the perfectionist side of me running wild with a million thoughts at once on what I can creatively do for the task at hand, then discounting all of the ideas, thinking ‘this isn’t good enough’ and then leaving myself feeling deflated.
Thankfully, as the years have gone on, I’ve got much better at taking control of this perfectionist side in me and the course helped me realise that my approach of not thinking, and just freestyling at first to get my thoughts flowing, really works. I also took comfort in the fact that I’m not the only one intimidated by a blank piece of paper, and that we, once we’re kinder to ourselves and get going, we can create magic!
· Secondly, there is no right or wrong way to be creative in writing, however, you CAN get really creative with words
A lot of us get intimated, and put off creative writing as we think 1) ‘I don’t know what to write’ and 2) ‘What I write won’t be good enough’
Firstly, you (like me) need to sit down, stop thinking and write down all the thoughts that come to mind, then from there, pull out the really good points and develop from there.
Secondly, you (like me) need to be kinder to yourself and tell yourself that you’ve done great work before and you can do it again! I find now more than ever that every piece I write, whether for myself or an organisation, I learn something each time I do it. So, this course really taught me that I should just keep going for it, keep writing and see what exciting things come out from it.
So the course then had us look at words themselves…
Jo walked us through the words which are ‘go-to’, safe, overused words such as;
And then encouraged us to pro-actively create a word bank, other words we could use to replace these words, and make our pieces more imaginative and interesting. The examples we conjured up collaboratively were excellent.
· Thirdly, (and back to my 3 key points) I was challenged to show, not tell.
Instead of factually reporting an event, I had a go at showing my reader how the event unfolds instead of just telling it…
I had a go at doing this in the following piece:
“It stares at me from afar, its shiny, bright, ribbed wrapper. It feels cold, and firm and I stop myself from ripping it open. I can no longer wait… the anticipation is too much.. so I grab it and tear the packaging off… it smells so sugary and its sweet scent lingers under my nose. I take a bite… it’s like an explosion of sugary, sweet, sticky caramel and the roof of my mouth is covered. I feel no guilt for putting two pieces of the delicious, caramel, old friend of mine chocolate in my mouth at once. Caramel chocolate fills me with joy and puts a smile firmly on my face.”
I also created a haiku about a snowman…. See below:
A snowman is there
With the buttons neatly placed
His hat also is white
Now, yes, this haiku looks pretty basic, however, I was following the style of it which is words with 5 beats on the first line, 7 on the second and 5 on the third and last.. so it’s:
Another great part of the course, involved me being re-acquainted with key writing terms I hadn’t come across in years! (well, since the English exams at school days) such as simile, hyperbole etc.
We actively looked out for examples of them being used through reading an excellent piece called ‘The Trick is keep breathing’ written by the fabulous Janice Galloway. What I really enjoyed most is discussing our interpretation of what the writer was getting at. It was almost like a mini-book club. It was really enjoyable.
So, I’m bringing this blog to a close, and I’m going to end it on the 6 words I was asked to summarise my day, today 15/10/15 (at the time of writing) …. COME DANE WITH ME GOT PUBLISHED
I’m so happy to see that the East Lothian Courier published an article on my #ComeDaneWithMe event and that they mentioned Changes Musselburgh too. I think Changes are a fantastic organisation and I’m really looking forward to further volunteering with them.
Over and out for now,