Friday, 20 May 2016

WHAT HAVE YOU DISCOVERED?

The view of Chester Town Centre from the Roman City Walls

Hello,

This month has been all about research and new discoveries...from a weekend exploring Chester and attending the Lapidus National Conference (Lapidus is the Writing for Wellbeing Organisation that Creative Writes is a Professional Member of: http://www.lapidus.org.uk/), a visit to the V&A Archives with my C&C colleague & creative writing group from a sheltered housing scheme (photos below) and a moving visit to the V&A Museum of Childhood with the Women's Creative Writing Group I teach, to see the exhibition 'On Their Own': http://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/exhibitions/on-their-own-britains-child-migrants/

C&C Creative Writing Group learning the history of 1920's garments
Victorian staircase - V&A Archives
This shoe holds many stories
Glorious Liberty cloak
Folding top hat for the opera

The visit to the V&A Archives was part of an exciting new project funded by the Arts Council, which I am involved with for C&C https://www.ccht.org.uk/'My Front Door,' which will focus on the founder and other key figures in the social housing provider's 90 year history. I will be blogging more about this project.

I have been humbled by the stories collected and imagined - faced with objects now faded from wear and love, some of which meant so much to the owner, such as the miniature house below at the Museum of Childhood exhibition; 


"Every night she fell asleep clutching her little house and dreaming of a proper family."
Precious miniature objects belonging to a child migrant, who was sent to Australia from England
I have started to use some of these finding in my workshops. 

Try This! Visit an exhibition and focus on an object from the collection. Carry on its story...tell its journey and that of its owner.

The programme of workshops I am currently delivering include the new block of 6 workshops at Mayfair Library, my regular Read Aloud Poetry Workshops and Creative Writing Workshops in Sheltered housing, Supported housing and Care homes for C&C, weekly workshops in Angel, Battersea and Kew and my regular Creative Writes Workshops in Muswell Hill, N10. I also have some new one to one Masterclasses and Skype sessions, which are great fun!

I am delighted to announce the Creative Writes Summer 2016 Workshop Programme! All workshops are in central Muswell Hill, London, N10.

The programme includes a brand new themed workshop 'Keys,' the return of favourite Themed Workshops and a block of three Wednesdays. Take a look and book here: 















Monday, 18 April 2016

A STORY SHARED

The Creative Writes video tells our story 



Hello & welcome!

The whirlwind of activity has continued to spin around the Creative Writes core! We had a wonderful set of five creative writing workshops at our headquarters in Muswell Hill, N10. The group formed a bond and we covered a range of material, while I guided the group through a series of fast paced free flow writes. As always, there was no critique on the writing and the group said that this was an important element in freeing them up to develop their voice and writing style.

In addition to my regular workshops in North London, I travel around a fair amount for the different projects & workshops I run as a freelancer for different organisations.  I have recently run a series of workshops along the theme Around The Kitchen Table for C&C Housing Trust (Central & Cecil), working mainly in their Care Homes. I took along poetry, anecdotes and images to trigger discussion and memories. It has been great fun collecting anecdotes from friends and family too! 

Here is one of the powerful poems we read in the sessions:


PERHAPS THE WORLD ENDS HERE by Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

Spending some time with the swans in Windsor when there for 'Around The Kitchen Table'


'Around The Kitchen Table' Workshop in South London
Next Workshops are our Creative Writes Themed Creating Character this Wednesday 20th April 2016 and then Myriad of Objects and Colour As Writing Inspiration (all on Wednesday evenings). This is followed by our Block of Three Workshops on Wednesdays 11, 18th & 25th May 2016. All Creative Writes Workshops are in central Muswell Hill, N10. Full details here: 
http://www.creativewrites.co.uk/p/bookings-workshop-info-how-to-book.html







Wednesday, 30 March 2016

AS THE LIGHT CHANGES...

Watch the Creative Writes Video below  - find out what we do and hear from our participants:





Spring blossom


Hello, I hope this finds you well,

With the start of a new season, there is a new light. And with the new light, we start to see clearer. We start to see what it is we want to do, say and write. I have sensed a renewed writing energy in  the Creative Writes workshops, an impenetrable wall of concentration and focus, The only sound I can hear is that of the writers' pens and pencils scratching at high speed across the page.

WRITING IDEA
Is there something that has become clearer to you now that the light has changed? What is it that you really want to say? Set your clock for ten minutes and go! 

Sun fighting through today

We are four weeks in to our five week block of Creative Writes Workshops at the lovely North Bank House in Muswell Hill, North London, N10. We have shared stories, laughter and reflection through the writing. Every workshop, there is a reminder of how privileged I am to witness the courage and creativity of my participants.


Spike Milligan statue in the park, North London
I have been running Creative Writes since 2009 and this year, this season- I feel a shift. The business has reached a different stage and I have never been happier. There are exciting plans ahead -  both at home and away. 

Next workshops are our Creative Writes Themed Creating Character, Myriad of Objects and Colour As Writing Inspiration Workshops on Wednesday evenings. This is followed by our Block of Three Workshops on Wednesdays 11, 18th & 25th May. All Creative Writes Workshops are in central Muswell Hill, N10.

The Muswell Hill workshops will always be at the heart of my work and you can see our new Spring 2016 programme here:
http://www.creativewrites.co.uk/p/bookings-workshop-info-how-to-book.html



Thanks for reading.

I look forward to seeing you soon!



Nichola x

Monday, 14 March 2016

A NOTE FROM THE HILL

Illustration by Charlie Adams: Muswell Hill - The Aspiring Suburb

Hello from Muswell Hill headquarters!

Verse by John Ringham: Muswell Hill - The Aspiring Suburb
I found this lovely little book in Muswell Hill Library and thought I would share some pages with you here. I also wanted to share the Week of Tweets by Jane - one of the new Creative Writes volunteers, who has been working wonders with our social media and development. Please scroll down for highlights from Jane's tweets. Watch out for Adam's tweets soon. 2016 is turning out to be a whirlwind of a year so far! It was a pleasure to run the January, February and March Creative Writes workshops at Muswell Hill Library (in partnership with the Friends of Muswell Hill Library), which were really well attended and we had a great response. Our February themed workshops at Muswell Hill Methodist Church/North Bank included Creating Character and Winter. We are into the second week of our block of five Creative Writes Workshops - with a fantastic, focussed group. We played with hats and invented new characters last week - more to come.

In other news - I have been attending exciting planning and research meetings at C&C (Central & Cecil) for our new ACE funded project in sheltered housing schemes and some of their other supported housing. I am honoured to be involved in this new project, as-well as my ongoing work with the housing trust. Watch this space!

My Mimosa Women's Creative Writing Workshops in partnership with Chalk the Sun, the Avenue Club Workshops in Kew and Claremont Centre Workshops, all continue to be inspiring. Teaching is always full of surprises and I am learning all the time. 

Looking ahead to Spring at Creative Writes - we have our two Saturday afternoon workshops with BonaFide Studio, new Themed Workshops and a block of three workshops on Wednesday evenings. All workshops are in central Muswell HIll, N10. Here's the link for booking and info:
http://www.creativewrites.co.uk/p/bookings-workshop-info-how-to-book.html

I hope you enjoy reading! Bye for now.

Nichola x


JANE DAVIDSON'S WEEK OF TWEETS FOR CREATIVE WRITES:

  1. Final day as Relaxing after a weekend away
watched Philomena Just finished crying Well told and brave

  1. Completed coaching and mentoring course! Ready for tonight's workshop
  2. our workshops at Northbank all have disabled access

  3. More AM Writing assignments PM Followed by CW meetup

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

TWEET, TWEET!

Tweet, tweet!


Hello,

I was inspired by Mslexia Magazine's 'A Week of Tweets'  - where a guest records their week in tweets, with the daily limit of 140 characters.  I have shared this with my creative writing groups in Muswell Hill, N10 and beyond. The exercise has been well received. There is no pressure to write online. Some participants recorded their week old school style in their notebooks but still kept to the limit! The writers said it was good fun and great to have the discipline/restriction in their writing. It was full of surprises. Here is the past week in tweets...enjoy and try it out yourself. You are welcome to post on this blog. My wonderful new assistants Jane & Adam will both be tweeting for a week and sharing it here in the near future. Watch this space...


MY WEEK IN TWEETS

Monday
Creative Writing Workshops in Kew; James Joyce love letters. #longcommutebutworthit #varietyisthespiceoflife

Tuesday
Return to Teddington. Poetry in care homes with older people living with dementia. #lovepoems #triptothecountry

Wednesday
Exciting planning meeting @Central_Cecil New projects ahead with ACE funding. Fun Creative Writes workshop in evening; Creating Character.

Thursday
Flying to the moon at supported housing project #poetryworkshop #shootingstars. Dinner with old school friend. #timeflies

Friday
Exploring New Beginnings at Angel creative writing workshop. Later - whizzed to South London Care homes for more Read Aloud poetry.

Saturday
Workshop planning & plotting new dates #newchapterforcreativewrites. Met a good friend for lunch. #puttingtheworldtorights

Sunday
Quality time with family. Marketing for workshops with Creative Writes volunteers. #feelinginspired


CREATIVE WRITES WORKSHOP NEWS...


We run regular workshops in Muswell Hill, N10, giving you time and space to write. Our workshops are for writers at all levels, aged 18 & over:

The Creative Writes February Themed Workshops have been going well. This week is the last in the series with 'Winter' on Wednesday 24th February 2016, 7.30pm.

We are very much looking forward to our new block of five March/April Wednesday evening Workshops, which begins on 9th March 2016 and runs for five consecutive Wednesdays. This is a chance to really develop your skills and writing confidence, while getting to know your fellow writers. 7.30pm.


Don't forget our new partnership project with BonaFide Studio on Saturday afternoons, April 2nd & April 9th 2016 in central Muswell Hill.

For info and booking on all workshops: 
http://www.creativewrites.co.uk/p/bookings-workshop-info-how-to-book.html

Bye for now!

Nichola x




Wednesday, 10 February 2016

INTRODUCING...


Nichola
Hello, I hope this finds you well on this sunny February morning.

The big news from Creative Writes headquarters is that we have a new team! 

After the success of working with my first volunteer Lanna in 2014, I decided it was time to try and recruit for a new volunteer to focus on social media and marketing - taking Creative Writes to the next stage. 

I had a wonderful response to the posts I put out for a volunteer - so wonderful that I now have two new Assistants! It was so exciting to meet with Jane and Adam and hear about their many skills, depth of experience and ideas for developing Creative Writes that I decided to form a team! 

We had our first team meeting this week and I felt a mixture of joy and trepidation (for the tasks ahead!). I was also humbled. Here I was, sitting with two lovely people who believed so much in Creative Writes that they were willing to give their time, hard work and advice. It made me want to work harder and it was a reminder of why I do what I do. 

Thanks Jane & Adam. And now over to them...


Jane at work!

Jane....


"I'm taking a break from my career as a vet nurse and exploring other avenues.

I  write for industry magazines as a vet nurse blogger: http://www.vettimes.co.uk/category/opinion/vn-blogs/

As an N10 resident, I am excited to support a brilliant local business. I am already active on social media and will be helping to ensure Creative Writes is seen and heard!"






Adam

Adam....

"Hello, I'm Adam, assistant to Nichola at Creative Writes. 
I've always written because it's part of who I am, and because I can think of no reason not to. It seems a shame to have all these words available and not to use them occasionally. By day I write technical copy for technical things made out of electricity and hope, but by night my mind wanders into uncharted territories without ever leaving the safety of the page. I have lived in Switzerland, Germany, France and San Francisco, as well as Slough, Bristol and now Crouch End. I love to travel, often without any idea of where I'm going. Unless it's a scheduled flight or something akin to that. I like to organise things and pretend that I know what's going on, whilst secretly watching the Great Plan reveal itself.   
I'm excited to be working with Nichola, learning how to write gooder, and helping others disect  (or 'discover' I can't decide, you choose) the beauty of the word."


CREATIVE WRITES COURSES 2016


NEXT is the return of our Creating Character Workshop on Wednesday 17th February, 7.30pm This is a popular Themed Creative Writes Workshop, equipping you with a toolbox of ideas: http://www.creativewrites.co.uk/p/bookings-workshop-info-how-to-book.html


The last in the series of February Themed creative writing workshops is 'Winter' on Wednesday 24th February, 7.30pm: http://www.creativewrites.co.uk/p/bookings-workshop-info-how-to-book.html


Our five week block of workshops in March/April 2016 starts on Wednesday 9th March, 7.30pm and will give you the opportunity to really develop your writing practice and experiment with a wide range of content and genre - while getting to know your fellow writers: 
http://www.creativewrites.co.uk/p/bookings-workshop-info-how-to-book.html


Not forgetting our new partnership project with BonaFide Studio on Saturday afternoons 2nd & 9th April: http://www.creativewrites.co.uk/p/bookings-workshop-info-how-to-book.html

Want to hear how previous Creative Writes participants have found the workshops? Watch our short video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RsbC4yYLJ4

See you soon!

Nichola & the new Creative Writes team x