Category Writing exercises

So not a therapist

So. Recently, I ran a workshop on techniques to start creative projects. I have run it a few times now (and I have written about the techniques elsewhere), but not so often that I am on autopilot. Almost every time I find out something interesting for me. This time was no different. We started the […]


So. I have a couple of poems going up in an exhibition at the Catalyst Festival. Grand. But the organisers also wanted a bit of blurb about ‘why I write’. That paralysed me. Why do I write? Flippin’ heck. It doesn’t help that I have always found this sort of meta-writing difficult (I don’t like writing […]

A Christmas Garland Redux

So. Last Christmas I wrote a twelve sonnet cycle, on the theme of Christmas, and posted them on Living Lantern, a day at a time. I was contemplating another Christmas project for this season, but a Christmas deadline on another project put an end to that, so I’m having a rest. In the meantime, to make the original […]

‘Take that thing away’

So. In the HG Wells short story The Pearl of Love an Indian prince falls in love with a young woman who dies shortly after their wedding. He dedicates his life to building a monument to her. In old age, with the building nearly complete, he studies one of the vistas within the monument and […]

The inner life of a book

So. For the last two days I have been in a writing workshop run by Northumberland Theatre Company in the labyrinth of Alnwick Playhouse. The first day, with Ann Coburn was about structure, layering, subtext and dialogue, the second, with Stewart Howson was all about adaptation. The primary point of the morning was the importance […]

99% perspiration

So. Here I am in a field (fortunately in a tent as well), reflecting on today’s writing workshop at Catalyst Festival. I wanted to do something on the necessary disciplines of editing and revising: we are still too tied to the romantic and spiritual ideal of inspiration. We spend a lot of time thinking about […]

Measuring up

So. The metre is still running. Although I’ve been writing and thinking about iambic pentameter for a while pentameter is not the only option for iambs (it is a silly looking word – like a typo for lambs). Of course, there are tetrameters, but even trimeters. But what about monometers? Lines of one iamb apiece. […]

Getting a piece of writing started

So. I run a writing group. As our current project involves working from a theme I put together a short video describing one technique for getting started when inspiration seems a long way off. There’s some really dodgy typing a few minutes in, but don’t let that put you off (assuming you can get past […]