Friday, 10 April 2015

classes for writers

My creative writing class will run again at Oldham Lifelong Learning Centre in Oldham. It starts again on Friday 1st May (10am - 12noon) and finishes on Friday 6th June. It's six weeks only with a break in the middle for half term. 
A variety of topics will be looked at with the aim of getting pieces written and using them to learn from.
Enrol at the central library in Oldham. Costs depend on income. Phone 0161 770 8029 and ask.

Writing and selling short stories for women's magazines. Saturday 26th September 2015 at Waterside Arts, Waterside Road, Sale, Manchester M33. £35 for a day long workshop - 10 - 3. A focussed look at what magazine fiction editors want for their readers.

Creative Writing in business situations. Two hour sessions or day long workshops in which creative writing is used to aid fresh approaches to situations in workplaces. Designed to address the requirements of participants and organisations. Ask me for details.

email me at   

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Time to write plays

The last time I posted I was extolling the virtues of the pint sized play. Since then I have discovered that my own competition entry to The Irlam Fringe Festival has been selected for production, along with five other plays. It's called Large White Loaf and a Tin of Rice and is about a fragile love triangle. I'll tell you more about the process as it happens.

This is a pleasing result for me as for a while I've only been able to write and sell short pieces. A fifteen minute play is fifteen pages long, so while it's not huge it's still an advance in  terms of developing plot and characters. 

Time has been an issue for me and is for a number of writers. I'm in the middle of everything and I only get writing time if I'm careful with my time in general. Here are some of the ways that I have created time to write.

  • Get up earlier than everyone else in your house in order to have peace in which to write.
  • Go to bed later than everyone else ....
  • Reduce or cut your tv viewing / computer game playing / surfing.
  • Improve the way your writing is organised so that if you get some unexpected free time you don't waste it looking for your work or trying to remember where you were up to.
  • Reduce your involvement with high maintenance situations. These are different for everyone but for me they have been people who talk about themselves/family/colleagues all the time and people who are chaotic, People who offload or stay on the phone too long / outstay their welcome. This makes me sound anti-social and I'm not. A little often is fine and I like to meet up with people for lunch or coffee. Sometimes. 
  • Too many possessions can be high maintenance as they have to be stored, used, washed, kept in good repair. All things that take up time you could spend writing.
  • Don't put pressure on yourself to keep your house sparkling and your washing gleaming. Good enough is good enough.
  • Keep cooking simple unless there's a special occasion.
  • Gardening, if you have a garden. Keep it simple and realistic. Keep on top of it.
  • Keep paper and pens with you so that you can write in down time such as waiting in your car to pick someone up, having a haircut, waiting to be seen for appointments, lunch hours at work, bus or train journeys.
  • Be organised. Have places for things that can get lost such as keys and phones. Looking for them wastes time, is stressful and can make you late for your plans for the day. Go shopping with a list so that nothing is forgotten and you don't have to make several journeys. Keep a diary so that you can see where you are and what opportunities to carry out your business exist in that area. Don't visit somewhere twice when once will do.
  • Delegate some jobs if you can and accept the offerings of others rather than expecting them to do things to your standards.

And then, with the ten minutes here and half an hour there that you've saved....get writing. 

Why not try one - or both - of these quick fire, time based writing exercises?

1. Set your clock for one minute and use those sixty seconds to write a stream of consciousness on the subject of time passing.

2. Write a list of all the things that have wasted your time. Can you see the makings of a poem in this list?