The Writing Retreat –  some places available for 12-15 November 2018 at Woodlands Manor Farm

The Writing Retreat is a collaboration between me and Kath Morgan, a writing tutor and mentor from South Cornwall. Here is what guests at our recent retreats have said about their time with us.

We run retreats several times a year with themes such as the Craft of Writing, Narrative Structure, Life Writing and Time to Write. We provide an all-inclusive residential week in which you can write in peace and quiet, with delicious food, good company, a mid-week guest author and the support of me and Kath as resident tutors. Places fill up quickly and many of our guests return. Our autumn 2018 retreat is booking now, with a choice of double and twin rooms. Find out more and book your place here.

Creative writing in Mylor Bridge – dates for autumn 2018

I run a monthly Saturday morning writing session from 10.00am to 12 noon in Mylor Bridge, on the south coast between Falmouth and Truro. If you’re in the area and would like to join this friendly, informal ‘drop in’ group, our next meeting is on Saturday 8 September, 6 October, 3 November all in Tremayne Hall, and 8 December in the Ord-Satter Pavilion on Mylor playing field. Both venues have free parking close by.

There is no critiquing, but lots of stimulus for new writing with prompts and triggers that get the creative juices flowing in a mix of prose, poetry, life writing and fiction. If you want more time for your creativity, these relaxed monthly get-togethers are the perfect way to make writing part of your regular routine. The fee is £7.00 per person, which includes coffee, tea and some rather yummy biscuits. Just bring your pen and notebook; we always give new faces a warm welcome.

If you’d like to receive regular alerts about these sessions, sign up here.

Writing a community novel

In October 2017 I embarked on a three year research project to create a community novel. My question is ‘what would happen if a community wrote a novel using a combination of pens and apps?’ Or, to put it another, more academic way, ‘What is the potential role for digital media in co-authorship of a community novel?’

I’m based at Falmouth University where – like much of the academic and business worlds now – digital media are the norm in terms of how people write and share their work. Yet out here in the community I work with people for whom the pen is still the most commonly used technology. Computers tend not to make it into the writing workshop; we work by hand at a slower pace, playing and messing around with words before editing on the laptop.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has granted me funding to find out whether digital media and traditional writing methods can work together in ways that are inclusive and accessible for everyone. Digital media can be fun and creative but should not create barriers for those who prefer mmore traditional methods, or who do not have access to laptops and smart phones. I want to try out ways to bring people together by making a piece of extended fiction. The Victorians wrote long novels in instalments and readers would often have a say in the way the plot developed over time; could that work now as a way of involving people in a community? And could digital media help?

A novel is a long and complex thing; it needs people to write, research, read and edit, so there are many ways for people to get involved. Further to that, digital story making uses a mix of text, pictures, audio and animation to make a story that hangs together and interacts with its readers; could that work? What about the way gamers take on a role and create stories together in virtual and real spaces? And what about using apps such as Pinterest to create visual material that builds characters and settings? I intend to have fun finding out. Watch this space for more news coming soon.

Writing for health and wellbeing

One of my passions as a writer is the way writing can help people as part of general health and wellbeing, and as part of counselling. I’m involved with the Cornwall branch of Lapidus UK, which runs events to raise awareness of this sort of writing, encouraging more people to try it. We have regular get togethers in Truro, with workshops led by Lapidus members, and a chance to swap information and inspiration about expressive writing.

I am not a professional counsellor but I am trained in bereavement support through Cruse UK. I run training sessions for counselling teams and organisations providing support to bereaved people, and those with a general interest in writing for wellbeing.

I tutor a Special Study Unit in journal writing for personal development with junior doctors at the Peninsular Medical School. I am also a Director of Arts Well, a Community Interest Company promoting the arts as part of health and social care in Cornwall.

If you’re interested in writing for wellbeing, find out more here.