I have to confess I have never been to a literary festival; so what are my excuses – in the past when I could afford it, I was working so any weekday events were out of the question, and weekend events were expensive and often logistically not possible. There are two literary festivals near-ish to me, Hay-on-Wye and Bath which attract big names and top writers/authors/poets/people – but I have never managed to get to either of them.
Now, very excitingly, there is, we hope, going to be a literary festival in our very own town of Weston-super-Mare, sometime early spring next year. So what have I done about it? Well, as a writer, I have got in contact to see if I can be involved – not just in the audience but in the actual events!
Writing is my life and it’s what I do all the time, from getting up in the morning, to last thing at night; I write my novels, I write her, I write in the shared blog I have with two friends, I teach writing, I lead writing groups, I read other people’s writing… it’s my life!!
I ran my first workshop for adults three years ago… here’s what I wrote about it:
Yesterday I ran my first creative writing workshop… and I admit that although I wasn’t nervous, I did have a lot of thoughts about would I be presenting ideas in the right way, would I be delivering what the group (of strangers) wanted, would I have enough to do for the four hours I was given? I felt sure all the people in the group would be nice and interesting, but many of them would be strangers to each other and would they gel? I have only been teaching creative writing for a year, so although I write masses and masses, actually teaching it to adults is fairly new for me. I have never even on any classes, courses,or workshops myself so I didn’t really know what exactly was expected to do.
I arrived having been told I would have eight ‘students’ – in fact I was pleased, delighted actually, to have eleven of them; pleased except I only had works sheets and other information for eight. I thought there might be one extra, but four extra?!! I started off by introducing myself and talking about my own writing and love of writing – just briefly, I didn’t want to sound boastful, and then each of the ‘students’ introduced themselves and said something about their writing experiences.
Three of them ran their own CW groups… oh goodness! They were much more experienced than I am!! But their way of doing it was very different from mine, so I think they did enjoy my class, and did learn something. Two of them were poets who had poems and books of poetry printed… heck! Two of them had written plays which had been performed… goodness!
However, I started off with the premise of a writer being aware of the voice s/he’s using… and although the group were very experienced in the most part of writing, some had clearly not really thought about ‘voice’, so we had some interesting discussions, and the exercises I gave seemed to go down well. A couple of people had stories to tell, but were pondering on how to tell them, and again I think – I hope that what we did yesterday was helpful, and maybe gave them an inkling of a way forward in ‘telling their story’,, as the title of the workshop said!
I had a really enjoyable day, I learned a lot, with some lovely,lovely people; I hope to meet them again, and I wish them all success in their writing ventures!
If you want to read my books, here is a link: