Writer in Residence - a June blog

I'm Writer in Residence at Sutton Libraries for the Cultural Programme 2019 and this is my first blog for a while due to the procrastination of the long-distance writer and the fact I just got married! (Who knew decorations could take so much planning?)

Since taking my seat at the residency table, we have had a number of workshops and events. The Words Aloud event in May that I host and produce featured our incredibly talented open mic and the amazing Jasmine Gardosi who is launching a new collection ‘Hurtz’. It so inspiring to meet poets and spoken word/storytellers who are making exciting work often challenging the status quo and sharing it with us. The Words Aloud Event will run alternate months with open mic and feature artists and our next session on July 13th features Nick Revell, storyteller and comedian who is previewing his Edinburgh show – bringing the Edinburgh Fringe to Sutton Library!

I am also beginning special Words Aloud Workshops this Sunday 9th June running for 6 sessions, bi monthly. This is to build confidence for writers or aspiring spoken word artists to create, write and perform work in a private group. There’s nothing better for a creative writer than not have to go it alone all the time!

As far as my writing is concerned, I’m writing a novel and have reached the ‘put it in a drawer’ stage. It is hiding underneath a table in the corner of my living room, incubating itself. I shall leave it for a couple more weeks to bake before attempting revisions and then sending it out to readers and exposing it to critique. I also have poetry that I submitted last year published in Shoreline of Infinity magazine this month, which is very exciting. It was great to work with an editor as well, I really enjoy the process of refining

In the meantime, I have lots of fun ideas to explore and fail at. Yes, that is a good goal – to get as much done without self-criticism by accepting nothing is perfect. Thinking of this, the topic for our workshop on Monday was ‘fail better’. The acronym ‘first attempt in learning’ was mentioned and is very true. You cannot begin to explore the unknown and create a new work without accepting that not everything you do will be perfect. It might be good enough though.

An exercise: Write a list of 10 failures, toast falls butter side down, a smashed glass – then choose one of those and write about it. It’s amazing what material for stories you can find when you embrace the idea of things ‘going wrong’, because all story is conflict and conflict is about things not going the way they were planned.

Top tip for the day – Write for 10 mins every day for a week. If you don’t have time in the day, write when you wake up. If you still don’t think you have time, go to bed 10 minutes early and do it then. If you still don’t believe me, take a notebook to the loo. You have 10 minutes in your day and just spending that time writing about anything at all will help you exercise your creative writing brain muscle. Write a list of names. Write a story about a bee. Write about the best thing that happened that day. Then read it back and underline your favourite part. The next day, rewrite the bit you liked most and that will be the start of your next 10 minutes.

Good luck! And I hope to see you on my workshop journeys or at Words Aloud in July.


Rachel Sambrooks www.rachelsambrooks.com

My poetry is published in https://www.shorelineofinfinity.com/product/shoreline-of-infinity-15/

Words Aloud facebook.com/wordsaloudnight


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