I have no idea.
I do have a few theories, like that writing can be shared, that ideas can be passed on from one person to the next, that the freeing-up of the psyche/spirit/self needed to actually get work out can be achieved by many means and some of those means can be passed on in a workshop or a group or a class.
Given my certainty that talent doesn’t exist I absolutely believe we can encourage each other to be more wonderful and amazing than we’ve previously dreamed. As I started writing in and for theatre I definitely believe many heads are very often better than just one, and as someone who comes from an improvising/physical/devising theatre background I also believe strongly that writing is a physical activity, and that seeing it as merely something limited to pen/paper/screen/keyboard – as chained to a desk – does service to neither our own physical selves, nor our work.
And I like playing. I like sharing what I’ve learned from the many other brilliant people I’ve worked with. I like making it up as I go along. I like making it up with other people. I love making it up all by myself in the peace and quiet of my office. (I call it an office because I perceive it to be work – making work is work. Great, fun, enjoyable – or awful, hard, and exhausting – it’s work. Treat it like work, stop expecting it always to be fun – sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t – stop thinking the muse will come and do it for you … THEN it gets done!)
I really like sharing in workshop situations. Sharing knowledge, sharing questions, sharing potential answers, sharing secrets*, sharing tricks**. And then going for a drink and continuing.
So, here’s where that sharing’s happening this year :
Three very different locations for three quite different workshops. I’ll probably be doing variations on the same at all of them, the work I believe in, believe in sharing, the you-can-do-it, anyone-can-do-this, just get-it-out-then-make-it-better stuff I love and care about. The difference will be brought by the other people I’m working with. And by you, if you turn up.
The Improbable Writing & Impro Workshop Very exciting this, a new departure for Improbable, bringing writing and impro together. A new departure for me, teaching with people I more usually make theatre with. I’ve often said I teach writing using impro and theatre techniques, this is that spelled out to the nth degree. Impro and writing, together. For people who write and for people who improvise and for people who do neither but might like to do one or both. London. Non-residential. July 11th – 16th (incl.)
The Poulstone Worshop where good friend Manda Scott and I teach from our very different backgrounds and styles, Manda does country and dogs and horses and mostly writes novels, historical, crime and contemporary, and I do city, theatre, improvising and have only just started writing historical fiction after years writing crime and contemporary. Though we both do plenty of other types of writing, our main thing in common is that we both write novels and that will very likely be the main focus of our time at Poulstone. Residential, stunning location. 25th-29th July.
The Arvon course. A starting to write course that is about just that. Writing. And not talking about writing – though we’re sure that will come up too! Between us, Shelley and I have written theatre, novels, stories, radio stories, radio plays, adaptations and original work. Whatever you’re wanting to start writing, we’re very happy to help you work on it. Neither of us come from a long line of writers, neither of us were child prodigies published at 20, both of us know what it’s like to slog on and get there hopefully, maybe, eventually. We’d love to encourage that tenacity in you. Another stunning location. Residential. 10th-15th October.
So – see you there?
* & ** there are none. just do it.