I launched my Write It Down! creative writing classes in 2012 in Stoke Newington, North London as an antidote to the more conventional, novel writing, technique based ‘I want to get published’ agenda. My classes are about you, about pen and paper, about encouraging you to write down your life; record your daily adventures, your shopping lists, loves, hates, hopes and fears, to document political and cultural movements and to send more letters. They are not about spelling, punctuation, grammar or the ability to use big words and quote passages from Barthe or Flaubert. I found my mother’s war diaries after she died, ‘Had hair set, Japanese surrendered.’ Brilliant.
How will our children discover their heritage if we continue to use only digital media to snap-shot our existence?
Moving back to the city at 60, after an MA in Professional Writing in Cornwall, I was passionate about finding a new focus in my life which reflected my experience as a feature writer, copy writer, fashion mentor and mother, and one that would also empower and delight people in an era of doom and gloom. As a girl from an unacademic, working-class background, albeit with a BA Hons in Fashion – which didn’t really count because it was Art School – I had always been slightly intimidated by intellectuals and formal academic pursuit and I found established creative writing lessons pointed only to the novel.
But so many people had said to me, ’Oh, you’re so lucky, I can’t write’ or ‘I hate my handwriting’ or ‘I started a diary but I don’t do anything interesting’ that I wanted to share the necessity and pleasure I had discovered in keeping a notebook. It saved my sanity and helped me understand the multitude of changes in my life – when my three children were growing up, when my late husband was terminally ill, when I was in a fraught, new relationship and when travelling in India and Nepal. The purpose of my classes is to enable you to experience the thrill of uncovering your unique voice – given a bit of peace and quiet, gentle encouragement, a nice slice of cake or a glass of red and permission to sit down, think and write what comes into your head. That is being truly creative.
My classes are:
Mums & Babies Creative Writing Workshops on Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoons 2-4pm £12
Creative Writing and Drinking Salon on Wednesday evenings 8 – 9.30 central Stoke Newington £10
Writing and Walking Retreat, Mallorca 29 September – 4 Oct