Welcome to another blog post by me, Rhi, talking a bunch of nonsense to her computer and blissfully unloading to strangers on the internet.
For those who know me or those who have read this blog for a little while should know by now that I am a writer. I say this with confidence because truly anyone can be a writer. An author makes money from it I just plop it on the internet and hope for the best!
This year I embarked on a new journey with my writing. I have been working hard to post more frequently on my blog, keep a semi-consistent journal and write where I can. To assist the last point I took a plunge and signed up for a writing course with The Writers Studio!
In late May I was enrolled in the 4 Week - Unlocking Creativity course. Today, I thought I'd share with you my experience and thoughts from my time on this course.
I entered the course with some trepidation. Primarily because a large chunk of the four week course relied on posting your work for others to read and provide feedback alongside providing feedback to others work. This was a daunting concept. As much as I claim to be a writer, I am still inherently shy and find sharing my writing with others an incredibly personal experience.
But, after the first few posts I found my rhythm and gained more and more confidence as I went along. Each week we were provided with 4-6 writing prompts generated alongside the week's reading content and focused around an aspect of developing a story.
The course focused on writing for the sake of writing, without editing or re-reading. It's objective was to brush the fear away and get on with just producing something creative. Unloading from your brain to the writer's board and into the minds of others.
The course explored how emotions shape stories. It explored the general guidelines of how to create a convincing story and how to shake the worry of perfection away. Over the course I wrote about 6,000 words. Which is a pretty drastic increase in the amount of writing I can do over a month. I was ecstatic about this! All of a sudden it seemed too easy. If I just committed a little more time to it everyday I might be able to make something of my writing.
The course was full of like-minded people from every possible walk of life. From retirees, to full-time parents, to high up executives. I met and interacted with everyone and found myself pleasantly surprised by the quality of work that was being shared. This only further solidified my belief that the biggest hinderance these writers face is themselves and their confidence.
If anyone else is considering a creative writing course and isn't sure where to begin I strongly recommend this course. I learnt so much and truly enjoyed myself.
Rating: 10/10! This course was fantastic, I received regular, frequent feedback on my work, learnt invaluable skills about the craft of writing and engaged with other writers in a wonderful network. If you're thinking about it - do it!
I thought I'd end this post by sharing some of the work I did throughout the course - further building that confidence that others may like what I write, and if they don't, that's ok too!
COUGHING FIT (a writing task focused on bricks of detail)
In the centre of the room was a large sprawling table. It was thick and heavy and made of a tough solid wood. The top was gleaming as if it had been freshly polished. Seated around this table were ten chairs, straight backed and intimidating. All made form the same woof as the table. The walls were bare, an off-white colour and pristine from marks or scratches. The eye was trained to watch the table without distraction.
Today, the table was set for eight. Alice sat at the head, staring at the plain white wall and wondering how much longer she would have to wait. The others ate in silence, their forks scraping the china gently with each sweep. At a quarter to one, Sarah arrived through the door behind Alice. She slipped in silently and took her seat to Alice’s right. The room didn’t seem to notice her arrival.
Sarah glanced over to Alice, who still hadn’t touched her food and grimaced.
Sorry she mouthed, lifting her utensils quickly to begin eating.
The room continued in silence while Alice let her gaze hover over Sarah. Her blond hair was tied back in a long braid down her back and her simple lilac dress was pulled in tight to her waist. As she ate her braid slipped over her shoulder. Alice shuddered as it nearly brushed her plate
Silently, she turned her gaze back to the wall and waited.
Cars were streaming past outside. Down below in the crowded streets the day was continuing. Children were screaming as their mothers dragged them into stores, kids were skateboarding on and off the road, couples were laughing as they manoeuvred themselves through the foot traffic and vendors were attracting people’s attention with fruit held aloft and cries of only $1! Bargain deals! The city rumbled on, unaware, impassive.
Within minutes of her arrival Sarah started coughing. At first it was polite and quiet, trying to fruitlessly avoid detection. But Alice knew it wouldn’t last long. As her coughing got louder the party paused its silence to watch her. Interruptions were so unexpected at these events.
Her eyes were wide as she pressed a splayed hand to her chest, her diamond ring glittering dully as her own light seemed to fade. Beside her Tom tried to pat her back, as if rubbing circles would stop what was happening.
She was fearful now.
Her big blue eyes turned to Alice, pleading.
Her face was growing purple. Slowly, too slowly, the room sprung into action.
“Are you choking?”
“Someone grab her!”
She pushed back her chair to stand but slipped, pulling the place mat of food down with her.
The room was blurring with movement, but Alice only sat watching. White foam seeped from her pretty glossed mouth onto that long blond braid. It would be over soon. So, Alice waited.
LIFE SUCKS (a writing task prompted by an emotion)
There was too much noise in the room. The blinds were beating against each other from the wind through the cracked window. A fly was swarming near his head, the TV was blaring a rerun from last night and Blake was still in bed. Pulling his head from his pillow he surveyed the room in search of the remote. Scattered across the floor were remnants of food wrappers, pizza boxes, cans discarded and piled in different corners, clothes, dirty and clean were layered across the floor like debris from a cyclone.
The bed was littered with the same junk.
Blake sighed and lay back down. He’d search for the remote late. For now, he wanted to sleep and forget. Forget the job he’d lost and the girl he’d missed out on. Forget the degree he’d dropped out of and the friends who’d scattered. If only he could sleep it all away and never have to face another day again.
The blinds continued slapping against each other as a truck whirred past the window, brakes screaming. A personal assault on Blake’s mind.
How many days had it been since he showered? He wondered briefly before dismissing the thought. It didn’t matter, he had nowhere to be. A knock sounded on his door. He squeezed his eyes shut tighter and tried to block it out. It’s a dream, you’re asleep.
He begged his breathing to slow and his limbs to still as his mother looked in through the wedge she’d made by opening his door.
He focused on his breathing. In and out. She’d leave soon.
“Jesus, is that his room?” A voice whispered to his mother.
“Ken!” she hissed, sliding the door shut.
Through the door he could hear their muted argument. Her defending him, saying he needed time to adjust and Ken spouting the same shit Blake had heard a thousand times, get a job. He didn’t want a job. He just wanted to sleep.
I REMEMBER (a writing task focused on a single two-word prompt)
It had been blisteringly cold that day. Roland could remember it as if it had been yesterday, instead of ten years ago. She had been wearing that god awful mustard coat. He’d told her that morning, midway through an argument, that it was hideous and if he was her he’d be ashamed to wear it.
She’d stopped speaking at that and walked away. He hadn’t even felt bad.
Yet now, ten years on, that was what stuck in his mind the most. That stupid coat.
Maybe if he’d told her she looked beautiful things might have ended differently. Maybe if he’d just gone out alone, had a few beers with his truckie buddies, she wouldn’t have worn it just to spite him at dinner. Maybe she wouldn’t have walked ahead of him as she always did when they were out after a fight. A tell tale sign she was pissed off. Maybe if all these things hadn’t had happened, she wouldn’t have been five metres ahead of him when that car, that damned car, skidded off the road and taken her with it.
Roland shuddered at the memory. If only he’d told her she looked beautiful.
I DON’T REMEMBER (a follow up writing task focused on a three-word prompt)
Maria was looking out the window of her office as Roland entered. He looked worn and shabby. His beard was long and unkept and his pants were stained in various places. He was holding a women’s coat in his hands. It was an off yellow colour and looked as if it hadn’t been washed in a while.
“Roland? Why don’t you have a seat? My name is Maria.”
The therapist was calm. She was always calm when new clients arrived.
He had started crying before he’d even reached his seat.
“I don’t-want to re-re-remember it anymore,” he sobbed. His hands were playing relentlessly with fraying edges of jacket as he spoke.
Maria sat up slightly, analysing. He’d lost someone she surmised. Possibly a wife, or a family member.
“Roland, here, take a tissue.”
He took it silently, keeping his eyes on the jacket.
“What don’t you want to remember?”
She tipped her blond head slightly and raised her pen over the paper, ready.
Till next time!