On Monday night, Ellen de Vries and I held our first planning session for our upcoming writing workshops. I've run a couple of free flash fiction sessions with Ellen in the past and we have another planned for next week. In these sessions, people are given photographs as prompts and have to write stories on them within a certain amount of time. We have two main rules: everyone has to read something of what they wrote, and nobody is allowed to make any apologies for the work. People seemed to like the previous sessions (Tom Hume has written a post about one session) and we enjoyed hosting them.
The Write Club sessions led Ellen and I to thinking about workshops and what other things we'd like to do. Last month we set up the Brighton Creative Writing Sessions, and we have four events planned in September and October. These sessions will take place in Jake Spicer's art studio, currently home to the Brighton Life Drawing Sessions. We will provide a playful, friendly and experimental environment for people to try new things with their writing.
In the past I've expressed concerns about conventional workshops and creative writing teaching. One thing I dislike is that many conventional creative writing courses focus on publication and 'success'. For me, one of the most exciting things about writing groups is the social aspect.The Sessions want to explore on writing as communication, as an activity that is thrilling and life-enhancing in itself.
On Monday Ellen and I settled down with some food from Pompoko and planned our first few Sessions. I've designed workshops in the past, but these feel like more of an event. Ellen and I are approaching this as we would a performance or a piece of writing. We want to make sure that, as well as producing some great writing, everyone enjoys themselves and has an exciting experience. We want these to be workshops that people will enthuse about afterwards.
The first session we're holding is Writing and Life, which will focus on the visual aspects of writing. We're going to take full advantage of Jake's studio. I don't want to give away too many details, but I think we've come up with something quite special. You can sign up here. We've done our best to keep prices low, and will be charging £20 for a five hour session, or 4 sessions for £60. If you want to try our next free session, there are still a couple of places left. And please do email me if you have any questions.