30/05/17 - Write Like A Grrrl Manchester

I want to write.  All I've ever wanted to do was write.  Other interests and hobbies and career aspirations have come and gone but the desire to write has been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember.  From the moment I knew that the stories I loved so much had been written by someone and that that someone could be me.  However, often it is merely that - a desire.  My commitment and motivation can be annoyingly changeable, but even when I'm in a writing slump (which has been more often than I would like recently) I'll still be listening out for interesting snippets of dialogue on the train or scribbling half-formed ideas on any scrap of paper to hand.  My notebook is full of opening lines scrawled on the backs of receipts, and phrases which seemed like a stroke of genius when I noted them down but have lost all meaning three days later.  But I keep them all, hoarding the words in case one day they come in handy. 

So when I spotted the Write Like A Grrrl course online, I was immediately interested. I was in the middle of a particularly long dry spell and decided I needed to try something different.  I've been to writing groups before, but I've never been on a course or had anyone 'teach' me how to write or what works best.  After reading the very positive testimonials and doing a bit of research, I decided to go for it.  Anything that might kickstart my writing spark was a welcome change.

Write Like A Grrrl is a six week long writing course run by For Books' Sake, an organisation which champions women's voices and organises all kinds of exciting events all over the country.  In each session, we covered a different aspect of the writing process - from the actual logistics of writing, to creating characters and penning realistic dialogue, to editing.  It doesn't matter if you've been writing your whole life or if this is your first foray into the world of fiction, the workshops are a really helpful way of starting from the basics and taking a really good look at your writing process. 

The course is aimed at women writers of all ages and the overarching theme was clear; women are under a lot of societal pressure and because we spend a significant portion of our time beating ourselves up about not being good enough at anything, writing can often become just another stick to beat ourselves with.  The first session was dedicated to figuring out what held us back from writing and how we could combat those things, be they physical distractions or emotional barriers.  We also talked a lot about trusting our own instincts and developing a writing habit - you'll get very little done if you only write when you feel 'inspired' and just wait for wonderful ideas to happen to you.  I'm trying really hard to develop a regular pattern of writing a bit each day and although I don't always manage it, I'm getting better at keeping to a routine but not being too hard on myself when I miss a day.

The best thing I've taken away from the process is a new sense of self-awareness; I am much more conscious of the strengths and weaknesses in my writing, what motivates me and the ways in which I sabotage my productivity. It's also been a fantastic opportunity to connect with other women who write, women who understand how it feels to struggle over a blank page, women who want to create something meaningful. Even though our six weeks is up, our group are already planning when to meet up so we can keep each other on track and share our work, and I'm confident that this will be instrumental in helping us all to continue the momentum that the course set in motion.

I would like to say a massive thank you to the wonderful Jane who made the workshops such a productive and encouraging place to be, and I would absolutely recommend Write Like A Grrrl to any women looking to hone and develop their writing skills in a really safe and supportive environment - you can find your nearest course here.

Do you have any particular tricks for keeping yourself motivated when you're in a creative slump?  Let me know in the comments!

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