Events / Writing

Telling / Showing / Out loud

Just over a week ago, I got a chance to tell a story out loud to an audience at this event as part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2014. Not a made-up story, a real story.

I rarely write down what happens to me. Well, that’s a lie, I’ve kept a journal for over ten years, on and off, but I’ve never written down my own experiences for others to look at. Continue reading

Crafts / Teaching / Writing

Teaching Writing

Throughout my life as a student, I was lucky to have had some amazing teachers. A few weeks ago, I got to teach for the first time. It was super scary, and also really great. This is a blog post about what I did during my lesson, and how I got there. It comes to you in two parts: The Lesson (where I go through what we actually did during the 75 minutes), and The Plan (where I discuss how the lesson came to be).

Disclaimer: I am not a qualified teacher. The two exercises mentioned here were appropriated from two lessons I was taught during my MSc in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Continue reading


On sprinting

This morning, I went for a run. I did some long division and paper calculations afterwards, and it turns out that I ran at an average speed of 3.4 mph, which my running app doesn’t even classify as running. “Are you sure you didn’t walk?” it winks. Yes, I am, thankyouverymuch.

A very misleading introduction. Obviously, in the spirit of Murakami, I am not actually talking about running. I want to talk about sprinting when you write.

I have trained myself to produce a lot of words in not a lot of time. My fingers know how to type quickly, pretty much of their own accord, with little input from my brain. With four NaNoWriMos under my belt, I’m a trained sprinter. It’s the only way I know how; throw down lots of words and then painstakingly sieve through them to find the good ones. Efficient? Not really. The first draft gets done in a hurry, but working for quantity rather than quality also means having to discard large chunks of the initial draft in editing mode. But sprinting gets the words out, and it works for me. Continue reading