Wednesday, 7 November 2012

I'll have the buffet please!

Last year I attended a Beginner's Writer's Workshop. I was extremely apprehensive and nervous. I was sure that everyone else who attended would be feeling confident and would be much better at it than me! We were all there for different reasons and were at different stages on our writing journey. Ranging from someone who was already in the process of writing a book, to myself, who although having the desire and plenty of ideas, was unsure about whether I'd be capable of writing. There was even a lady there who hadn't yet started writing her book but needed it to be published within weeks as she herself was running a workshop and wanted it for then!

As we sat and introduced ourselves and talked about why we were there, I began to relax a little. Everyone was so friendly and encouraging and it really felt as if I was among kindred spirits. The lady who was running the workshop then asked us to take some time to write a short piece about how we were feeling. That will be ok I thought, after all no one was going to read it. It had been a long time since I'd written down how I was feeling, not since just before the death of my little girl over 20 years ago. But I allowed myself to dare to be brave and write honestly about how I was feeling.

I was surprised at how liberating and enjoyable I found the writing process. What I didn't expect was that after gathering back together, fortified by drinks and snacks, we were then asked to read aloud what we had written! Nervously I listened as 2 of the braver ones among us began. I was amazed at the variety and quality of what was being shared. I also realised that I was not alone in my nervousness. Unable to take the tension of waiting my turn any longer, I asked to go next. With a shaky voice and tears in my eyes I overcame my fear and began to read aloud my writing. Everyone was so lovely and encouraging. So much so that later on in the day I was not quite so nervous when we were asked to repeat the exercise. It was a day of tears, not just from me, but also much laughter. I think that each of us went away from the day, not just having learnt about how to begin to write, but also feeling that we had made some new friends.

It was as a result of attending this workshop that I started writing this blog. One of the things we learnt that day was that we should find our own writer's voice. By writing about my experiences, past and present and exploring different types of writing, such as poetry and short story writing I feel that I am learning and growing all the time. Have I found it yet? It's too early to say. Will I ever write a book? Again at this point I don't know.

One afternoon I decided to catch up on Holby City, a medical drama on television, while working my way through a pile of ironing. As the iron glided across the garment I was working on, a phrase that one of the characters uttered, caught my attention. It was said by a porter to the CEO of the hospital. I rewound the recording and listened to it again, then wrote it down as I thought it was very profound.
"If you can't do great things, do small things in a great way". 
I think this is amazing! Not all of us can be the President of the USA or win the Nobel prize for Literature. But can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone followed this simple rule! Just lately I have been reading or hearing so many things that I want to adopt as my motto. Perhaps instead of choosing one main motto I'll have a buffet instead!
The creative writing module I'm currently doing encourages us to listen to people when in cafes or on trains and other public places, as this can be a source of rich material for our writing. I can now add watching television to the list! Little did I know when I signed up for the writer's workshop that I would be 'blogging'. I certainly didn't realise that it would set me on a path of learning so many new things. It's amazing what you can learn if you just pay attention to what's going on around you.


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