The Writing Retreat –  date for 2019 coming soon

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 are putting the finishing touches to our programme for 2019; residential week-long retreats in spring and autumn plus winter and summer Sundays following the popularity of our one-day mini-retreats at Mylor Yacht Club in 2018.

Creative writing in Mylor Bridge – dates for 2019

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 meetings are on 26 January in Tremayne Hall on Lemon Hill, 23 February and 30 March at the Ord-Satter Pavilion on Mylor playing field, and 27 April in Tremayne Hall again. 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; new faces are always 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, apps and laptops?’ 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 – people write and share their work digitally. 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 more 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 can 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.

If you live in the Parish of Mylor, or have a personal connectiom to the community you can get involved as a writer, information-gather or reader. We meet weekly on Monday afternoons and there are opportunities to get involved online too. Contact me for information here.

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.