What a fantastic morning! Nine creative writers turned up for our first session at the College of North West London.
We started with an introductory activity, taken from Sue Lee Kerr’s book Creative Writing: the Quick Matrix, in which each person interviewed their partner about their passions and their writing history. Then we had a feedback session. I think we were all amazed at how interesting and talented everyone was. Writing experiences ranged from want to write a children’s book but didn’t know where to begin to academic writers through to writers for church plays and poetry sessions. Who knew our small college housed so much writing talent.
The second task was a word association(bubble) task. I put up a word on the whiteboard and the students suggested related words and ideas. Then, they chose one of the words from a list I gave them to brainstorm connections and associations. I handed out egg timers with the instruction that they had three turns of the timer to do the task. People scribbled furiously and soon papers were filled with words.
The writing task was to take a word or an idea to produce some kind of text over 30 minutes. The room went quiet as they wrote furiously. At the end of the allotted time, writers volunteered to read their WIP. Some chose not to but that was fine. What interesting work they produced – life stories, a short story, children’s stories and a polemic.
We had a little discussion at the end and it seems we might meet again to do some creative writing.
I am about to give my first ever Creative Writing Session, as part of the staff development day at work. I have been using the wonderful Creative Writing: the Quick Matrix: Selected exercises & ideas for teachers by Susan Lee Kerr to help me prepare. Even though I have been at the chalk face for 30 years, I am still apprehensive about starting a new training session.
Ms Kerr has produced a wonderful book which is full of great tips on how to set the classroom up, limit the amount of extra work you do, deal with students and get started on your creative writing course. Reading through chapter one has proved very instructive. I like her ideas on how to structure the course – they are very informative and helpful.
Following her advice, I am going to start with a brief introduction of myself as a writer.Then do a pair work “getting to know you as a writer” activity to get the participants thinking about why they signed up and to feel comfortable with the rest of the group. Then, we will do her Bubble exercise which involves brainstorming and word association. This should lead to a piece of inspirational creative writing. If people are brave enough, the can read out what they have produced. I aim to give them lots of ideas for the writing task to encourage creativity and variety. Finally, we will have a Q and A Session and a feedback session.
The additional task will be:
When you get home, have a good look at the keyboard of your PC or, if you have a tablet the fingerprints on your keyboard screen. Which letters to you use the most? Hint: they are probably the shiniest or the most worn.
What about those other letters which are underused?
Write a paragraph or half a page using those letters as much as you can.
Will it encourage my colleagues to write? I certainly hope so. I have learnt so much from the writing classes I have attended and I hope we can use this session as a springboard for a new Creative Writing Course in North West London.