Please check websites of all organisations or businesses before you visit. With the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, many businesses are changing their opening hours.
Do you have an urge to write, but don’t really know what you want to say?
Do you know what you want to say, but don’t know how to put it?
Do you know how to put it, but don’t know how to share it with the world?
Are you questioning your own creativity completely?
2020 is a new decade. This is the time to let your creative voice be heard.
Often, when we think we are lacking in creativity and imagination, what we’re really lacking is space.
It’s literal space we need to give ourselves. Somewhere away from noise, questions and expectations of everyday life. It’s also mental space. The clear mind we need to look inside ourselves, find our voice and produce honest, authentic and meaningful work.
When writers are given both these things, they gain clarity.
Mindfulness and meditation give us vital directions to clarity. By improving our wellness and putting us back in touch with our inner self, our voice becomes clearer and our writing becomes easier. Our most truthful, believable and personal writing comes when we are in touch with this part of our inner-selves.
So, why not give yourself space to reconnect?!
The Writers Way is a course of five full day sessions spreading across five months. Led by an author, poet and mindfulness practitioner, it will give you the tools and space you need to rediscover yourself, find your voice and write words on paper.
The Writers Way takes place on the first Saturday of every month from March to August 2020. You will devote your Saturdays to self-discovery and writing practice. Sessions are 10:30am – 4:30pm with an hour for lunch. You can join us for the full course or drop in for a session of your choosing.
What will you be doing?
Each session is outlined below. You will be led by Pete Armstrong. Pete is an author, ex-psychotherapist and mindfulness practitioner with an English Degree from Oxford University. He will guide you through each session with meditation, instruction, advice and structured feedback.
In his sessions, Pete practises Contemplative Awareness which:
Utilises a series of experiential exercises in awareness
Provides plenty of opportunities for sharing and reflecting
Draws on traditional ‘inner’ practices, including meditation and mindfulness
Incorporates insights from western psychology
Provides tools that people can take away and use in their life
Encourages a warm and curious attitude to all aspects of our being
This unique approach differs greatly from the linear, traditional structures many writing courses offer. Through contemplative awareness, you discover your inner truth, the narrative inside you that needs to be told. It is a transformational period; one that searches for truth and delivers creative success.
Participants who purchase the full course will receive a 45 minute one-to-one session with Pete over Skype. This can be at any point in the journey. Pete will give individual feedback on your work, advise on your technique and offer personalised tips for moving forward.
At the end of the course, there is the opportunity to present your work as part of our New Writing event at Yorkshire Festival of Story 2020. This is a great opportunity to experience sharing your writing amongst professionals and audience members. You will receive guidance and coaching prior to the performance at the festival. There is also the option to have someone else read your writing for you. This aspect is entirely optional and you do not have to share your writing if you prefer not to.
Who is this for?
This course is open to writers of any and every kind. You will be invited to view your writing from different angles and practise a variety of styles of your choice. Unlike many writing courses, we won’t give you a step-by-step outline on how to write the next mediocre novel. Instead, you will explore your own writing at your own pace. You will build on your own practice and develop your skills. This course is for people who want to find their voice and learn to express it.
What will you leave with?
A piece of work you can be proud of. The course is open for you to produce writing that suits you. It may be a piece you submit to a competition, or to a publisher. You might go on to self-publish it, share it on social media or on your blog. Whether it’s the next best-seller or simply 500 words you’ll read to a loved one, the course will give you the tools to tell a story that is profound and unique to you.
A new, positive relationship between you and your writing. You will have increased confidence in your own writing and develop new ways to overcome insecurities that currently hold you back.
A renewed motivation, inspiration and drive to keep going. Throughout the course and after, you will find yourself with a new push to put pen to paper. Your creativity will be reignited as new ideas flow, your technique develops and your ability to tell your story grows.
Tools to get your writing noticed. Resources shared throughout the course will help you get your writing out in the world. For the final week you will be joined by professional storyteller and Settle Stories Artistic Director Sita Brand, who will teach you how to pitch yourself and your story to an audience.
Below is the course outline, month by month. Remember you can join us for just one session or attend the full course.
March: Improve Your Writing Practice
What is your practice? How well do you think your writing is going? How do you write when you don’t feel like writing?
In this session you will establish where you are with your writing. You will look at what writing means to you, what your goals and aspirations are and what purpose writing has for you. This is the beginning of your journey, your chance to decide where you want to be at the end of these 5 months.
April: Create a Compelling Narrative
What is the nature of story? What stories do you hold in your heart? What were your favourite stories growing up?
When we do exercises that take you deep within yourself, you will discover the stories that hold great meaning to you. Narratives only work when they have an emotional connection with the reader or listener. We will explore what it is that makes certain narratives impactful, meaningful and compelling to you. Through discussion and sharing in this safe space, you will find out what stories you want to tell, and what stories you don’t want to tell. And then you will write one.
May: Create Characters and Dialogue
“But, how will I know what to say?”
“Well, what did your mother say?”
“She said a lot of good things.”
“Say what she said, then.”
You have so much dialogue, drama and conflict that exists in your inner world. Most of us speak to people and over-hear conversations every single day. Exercises in this session will allow you to tap into your own inexhaustible supply of dialogue and insight. Through encouragement and creative play, we will bring forth dialogue and characters that already exist somewhere in your mind. As a group, we will play with the questions that arise around shaping admirable, realistic and satisfying characters. By overcoming reluctance, the exercises on this day will provide you with answers, stimulation and endless material to keep you writing.
June: Combating Writer’s Block
Even the very best, most profound, and most admirable writers suffer from blocks. If you ever have problems with any of the below, then congratulations – you’re a writer!
Feel you can’t write at all
Are crippled by doubt
Always mean to write but don’t ever really get round to it
Give up very easily
Write stuff but think it’s rubbish
You can’t prevent these issues but you can learn to work with, work through and even work from the resistance these blocks give you. Different exercises and new techniques will allow you to see these problems in a productive way. You will learn to handle these barriers with confidence and insight.
July: Get Your Stories Out There
How do you become powerfully assertive in getting your writing out into the world? How do you share it widely? What platforms are there?
With a visit from professional storyteller and the Artistic Director and founder of Settle Stories, Sita Brand, you will learn how to use your body and voice to tell your story to any audience. The session will teach you how to pitch yourself as a writer, whilst covering the essentials of tone, pace and rhythm that all storytellers begin with.
This session will reinforce the confidence you have in your own narrative as we practise and improve our ability to communicate with our audience. You will have the opportunity to prepare your writing for the Yorkshire Festival of Story 2020.
We will later assess our own personal journeys throughout the course. What have you gained? What do you need to know to go further? Where do you go from here? Our final exercises for the course will enable us to identify our individual next steps for success.
Participants comments on previous Settle Stories workshops/retreats with Pete:
“This retreat has been good for my soul” – Retreat Participant, August 2019
“I have learnt more about myself here, made some new friends and, most importantly, written more than I have in years!!” – Writing Course Participant, May 2019
“My writing has improved immensely. I’m just doing it so much more. I was close to giving up, but Pete’s unique way of seeing your writing has changed everything for me.” – Writing Course Participant, May 2019
So, what will you create I wonder? A romantic tale to match the setting of the North York Moors? A poem that Keats could only have dreamed of? The next best-seller? Or 1000 words you’ll keep by your bedside for dark days? Give your creativity the focus it deserves. Take this opportunity to reconnect with your inner self, to produce work you are proud of and to write more honestly, openly and truthfully than you ever expected.