‘You are the author of your own life’ – creative writing workshops to write a bright new chapter

February 28, 2023 at 9:19 pm | Posted in Living creatively, Penny Hanley's Creative Writing course, Perseverance in writing, Short stories, Tim Ferriss, value of the arts, writers' health, Writing - tools of the trade | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,


We tap into our creativity through play. The technique I use in my Kick-Start workshops is a key that smoothly unlocks a door to the side of your brain that’s much less used in our linear, left-brain-dominant society. Under the Neo-Liberal economic dogma dominating every aspect of society no matter which major party is in power, results – sorry, outcomes – in every field are measured by the sole criterion of financial profit. Under these conditions and with all the unnecessary evaluative paper work engendered by this dogma, we forget how to play. Creativity requires risk. If we’re too frightened of failure we can’t be creative.

If we want to create we have to play with ideas, some of which might not work. Risky. But some amount of failure is necessary in the process of creative expression. Then when something does work and we produce something original and of high quality there’s nothing like that buoyant feeling of exhilaration!

Expanding our potential

In past tutoring and teaching jobs I discovered that I have a knack for spotting people’s potential. I get a kick out of seeing that blossom. With my accessible, brain-balancing technique and the timed workshops where we drop ourselves into the calm centre of the present moment, students tap into memories and sensations to write strong pieces of poetry or prose in their own unique voice. If they choose to read their work aloud we find their pieces quirky or funny or sometimes so poignant we all have tears in our eyes.

After the first workshop we build on the creative technique just learnt, and use more traditional literary techniques like modelling, rhythm and recurrence, metaphor, juxtaposition and creative tension to deepen the writing and refine expression and give the whole thing more punch.

Adding an extra dimension to life

The workshops suit beginning or experienced writers; whatever level you are in your craft, this practice will enable you to leap ahead with it. And when you give life to a page you give life to a part of yourself too. Sometimes big events or life’s accumulated small details get in the way of writing and that’s okay, we need to give things their due, but I find when I make time to write, even if only 30 minutes a day (see Marcia Hughes’ wonderful Life’s 2% Solution) it adds an extra dimension to life.

What you’ll get from the Kick-Start workshops are foolproof techniques to get in touch with your creative powers, four to eight pieces of writing – poems or vignettes or creative non-fiction – in your unique voice. Only you know what it is you want to write about and only you can express it as it needs to be, sharing with us something about your particular way of seeing the world. It’s exciting, in a world hell-bent on flattening everyone into conformity so we’ll be good consumers, to know that here is a technique allowing you to produce strong pieces of work in your own idiosyncratic voice. If all this creative writing business sounds self-indulgent (and especially so when almost none of us make much money from it), I reckon it’s the opposite – I’m paraphrasing the late Barbara Sher – www.barbarasher.com – here: your talent is what you were given and sharing that talent is what you give to the world.

Tea, coffee, snacks and more!

As it says on the poster my next Kick-Start Your Creativity course goes from Tuesday 28 March to Tuesday 16 May, 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm. (I’m aware that’s a commitment. If you miss the occasional one I give handouts containing the information and that week’s timed exercises, so it’s no drama – you can catch up when there’s time.) The workshops are easy and fun and suit writers of any level. Tea, coffee and snacks provided. You can check out the coordinator’s credentials at www.penhanley.id.au

I’ll conclude by quoting the exuberant Tim Ferriss, who gained his expertise on health and practical philosophy by experimenting on himself in many hilarious and foolhardy ways – see https://tim.blog –  ‘You are the author of your own life, and it’s never too late to replace the stories you tell yourself and the world. It’s never too late to begin a new chapter, add a surprise twist, or change genres entirely.’ (Tribe of Mentors)

Leave a Comment »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: