People who want to write sometimes ask me how they should begin. And I say get a writing journal and write in it everyday for at least ten minutes. This isn't a diary for recording events, it is a place for jotting down, stream-of-consciousness-like, words, ideas, images, feelings, descriptions, quotes...
I was interested to see that Bruce Springsteen has such a journal (Imagine, BBC1, 7th December, 10.35pm). His scribblings become songs. He also described keeping the bits and pieces which didn't at first work in a kind of lyrics junkyard, from which he would salvage them, sometimes a long time after, and explore putting them together in a different way until they do run. A bit like a writer's Scrapheap Challenge.
As with many creative endeavours, often it's knowing when - and being brave enough - to cut. Lenny Henry mentioned this as a crucial skill on Front Row (Radio 4, 8th December, 7.20pm). It's hardest when it's our favoured lines we have to cull. Though it's useful to think of them as not being lost for ever, only rather kept safe for another outing.
With a designer colleague, I once cooked up the idea of adorning the doors to our town's loos with poetry - thinking we'd have a captive audience. We have not put any plans into action, but when I was down in Bristol, I got to read poetry about the sea as I used the toilets in the SS Great Britain's visitor centre.
And yet, as I look at the trees stark against the winter sky, I think, nature has got there before us, if we just open our eyes, art is all around.
Pathways Through Writing Blocks in the Academic Environment
A new book by Kate Evans exploring creative ways for overcoming blocks to writing especially for those working in the academic environment. Aimed at students with essays, theses and reports to write, academics with articles or books they want to get out there and supervisors supporting anyone who is having a hard time putting words on the paper. See http://www.sensepublishers.com/ & www.amazon.co.uk
Healing Words: six linked one day workshops exploring creative writing
Aimed at writers working in therapeutic environments or with vulnerable groups or health professionals who want to bring writing into their practice. Themes covered: storytelling; poetry; metaphor; embodied writing. Dates: Saturdays in 2013, 9th March, 1st June, 27th July, 21st September, 23rd November and 18th January 2014. Participants can do all six or choose to attend specific ones. Workshops will be held in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Continuing Professional Development hours will be awarded. Tutor: Kate Evans, writer, UKCP registered counsellor and Lapidus member. For more information, please contact Kate on firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the poetry & writing in this blog, copyright Kate Evans, unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. For comments, questions or permissions please use email from my website: http://www.writingourselveswell.co.uk/.
Photos by Mark Vesey
Many of the names used in this blog have been changed and the dates & places of events have been disguised in order to preserve confidentiality.
I am a writer and a UKCP registered psychotherapeutic counsellor. I facilitate writing workshops. I am personally and professionally interested in the link between creativity and good mental health.
Visit my website: www.writingourselveswell.co.uk
Poetry The Peasholm Magic Lantern, Coastival 2009
Haiku & photo exhibition, Nutmeg Cafe, 2010
Words in My Head, Woodend, Coastival 2011
Books Contribution to Writing Works, a resource hadnbook for therapeutic writing workshops and activities eds Gillie Bolton, Victoria Field & Kate Thompson. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 2006.
Articles The Poetry of Therapy, Therapy Today, December 2009 (reprinted Counselling Today NZ)
Outside Life: Edith Sitwell, Poetry News, Winter 2010
Writer's Block: a reflective literature review, The European Journal of Qualitative Research, Summer 2011
The chrysalis and the butterfly: a phenomenological study of one person's writing journey, Journal of Applied Arts & Health 2011
'Finding the unexpected': an account of a writing group for women with chronic pelvic pain (co-authored with Dr Lesley Glover), Journal of Poetry Therapy May 2012