Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Elizabeth Gates at Riverside Writers

The paperback edition of Tamsin is now available from Amazon.com and the Amazon UK outlet should be available in a few days.

Last night's Riverside Writers meeting was interesting.  One of our members, Elizabeth Gates,  has a BA. Honours in English Language and Literature and an MA in Linguistics.  Since 1985, she has been a practising journalist. She is also an experienced ghostwriter. In 2005, Elizabeth trained as a personal and executive coach with the prestigious coach training school, Coaching Development. Since then she has developed the Lonely Furrow Company, which specialises in writing coaching and communication coaching using transactional analysis, neuro-linguistic programming and accelerated learning techniques.

Elizabeth ran a workshop on how to overcome writers block.  She had put a considerable amount of forethought into the workshop, and included a few simple writing exercises, the first of which asked us to write for one minute only and answer the question, "What weather are you?"  Without giving the exercise much thought, I wrote, "I am twilight; an equal blend of light and dark; a fusion of opposites."

Another exercise required us to write for three minutes, again without giving it much thought, and complete: When I'm writing well I feel ...(fill in the blank); if I were not a blocked writer I could ...(fill in the blank).  In response to this, I wrote, "When I'm writing well, I don't think about writing.  The words flow without plan.  I'm involved in the story, watching the story unfold as if it was a film in my mind.  The images unroll, and I merely write down what I see.  The characters take on a life of their own; a cliche, but true.  When I'm not writing well, I make too many cups of tea and think about biscuits."  My response didn't entirely fit the project but writers block isn't an issue for me.

Elizabeth then went on to encourage people to have a comfy writing area, to develop a daily word count, and to read widely and analytically - which is pretty standard advice, but our group's membership has quite a few new and new-ish writers as well as those who've been hitting a set minimum daily word count for some years already.

In all truth, I don't have a problem with writers block.  If a story gets stuck it's because there's something wrong with it.  The trick is to work out what's wrong then fix it, even if that means changing and/or deleting large chunks of text.  Being too precious about writing will hamper progress.  For example, over the last couple of weeks I've been sporadically working on a 3,000 word short story which got stuck mid-way.  The story was ok but nothing much had happened, plot-wise.  So I changed the gender of one of the two main characters, and instantly this opened up the flow of ideas. 

Learn more about Elizabeth Gates here: Lonely Furrow Company

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I'm looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!