‘Write lots.’ Ian Rankin advises. ‘Read lots.’ Kate DiCamillo admits that when she started out to be a writer she hadn’t thought about reading. Almost every writer, when asked for advice, mentions reading. When we read, whether poetry or fiction, motoring magazines or non-fiction of any kind, we expand our repertoire, expand our horizons, absorb … Continue reading Read Lots.
When we brought this lighting box to writing club, one child, after quite some time, asked us: “What are writing rocks?” Good question. It made us laugh. And maybe you could write a story that includes writing rocks. However, when we had explained what we meant, we thought about good things about writing; writing affirmations. And … Continue reading Writing Rocks
It is really, really hard to write good instructions. Often drawings are required as well as words. Sometimes drawings alone do the job. One is, must be, more acutely aware of one’s audience than almost any other kind of writing. Very often the subject of the instruction is so familiar to us that we forget … Continue reading Instructions for a Friend
It’s the weekend and so maybe there is time for some fiction. Or maybe you are planning ahead. Think about telling a story through the eyes of someone who is not you. Start with a place you know well. It may be the view through your window, the local shop, a spot where you sit in … Continue reading Look through the eyes of another
‘When someone reads you what they have written,’ wrote a seven year old, ‘they are giving you a present.’ Sharing one’s writing can be nerve-wracking but to have an audience, is, also, a gift to the writer. And so reading aloud is an exchange of gifts. The listener and reader receives the gift of words. The … Continue reading Thank you
Writers notice things. The more we write the more we are likely to take note of. Sometimes we should change our viewpoint. When I was at school in Chester, I learned the value to the historian of looking up. Above modern shop fronts you could – and still can – see evidence of the older … Continue reading Look up!
Jamb-friend: A jamb is a supporting timber, of course, which makes a jamb-friend an early 19th-century word for a friend with whom you could quite happily sit by a fireside talking and relaxing well into the early hours. In the UK we are nearing the time when we will be able to meet with others face … Continue reading Jamb-friends
Today is Mass Observation diary day in the UK. We are invited to write a diary for the day, looking back also over the last year, if we wish, and forward to the future. The collection of diary entries will reflect everyday life at this time as part of a national archive which began in the … Continue reading Diary Day
How do you feel about writing? When we are working with teachers, it is likely that they will begin by expressing their feelings about it -doubt, fear, lack of confidence; the sense that it is difficult; the sense that it is daunting, that they can’t write, that it is too exposing, that it is too … Continue reading To Write Is a Feeling
Metaphors are a powerful part of the ways in which we think. Metaphors provide us with a way of characterising the new and of reconstructing the familiar. Here is a way of thinking about metaphor and landscape. Start by thinking of a dog: make a list of things that a dog does, essentially a list … Continue reading Verb into metaphor