Thinking of running a writing group? Already organise workshops but want to enhance them? Here are a few top tips from our community.
You’ve got a great idea for a workshop. You have lots of ideas to share. You have an event in the pipeline. Brilliant. But what’s the point if no one is there? To run a successful event you need to get people along – and to do that you need to do some marketing.
A few years ago, on a trip to London, I met a woman named Clare. She runs a project called Urban Curiosity. We ordered lattes and deliciously buttery breakfast treats, and I asked her, “What’s this project all about?”
It’s pretty simple. Mainly, she leads people on walking tours throughout the city of London. People wander through different neighborhoods, and through beautiful green parks, noticing the trees, noticing the sky, the clouds, the pets, the people. The only rule is that you have to put away your phone. No photos. No videos. No texting. Just walk.
“I want to inspire people to look up, not down,” Clare told me.
I remember feeling a rush of energy in my body, almost like my skin was tingling, when Clare said those words. I remember thinking, “Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes.”
I watched a short film about a man who set up a high-powered telescope on a random sidewalk in Los Angeles and invited strangers to peek inside and look at the moon. It’s incredible how each person—all ages, all kinds of people—react in the same way. “Oh my god. Wow. Just…oh my God.” The filmmaker concludes this tiny, 3-minute film by saying:
“We should look up more often.”
Imagine if we looked up into the sky, and into people’s eyes, as often as we look down at our phones. Imagine the difference it would make. We would all walk around shimmering, awestruck, grateful, just one big collective WOW.
At least once a week, I have one of those weary, frazzled moments when my to-do list feels never-ending…when my inbox feels frighteningly full…when the quarterly reports come in and the book sales aren’t as high as I thought they would be…when I feel very small and very insignificant. Those are the moments when I feel tempted to dive into a digital device to escape and numb out. Instead, next time, I will try to remind myself:
The answer I’m seeking is not down on my laptop screen, or my phone. It’s up. It’s out there. It’s above and beyond. In the trees, the sky, and the stars.
I have been writing and journaling all my life. Early on, I realised the power in putting things into words, and writing helped me to heal when my mother committed suicide. When I left my second staff journalism job to go freelance in 2001, I used journaling, along with studying lyric writing and acting, to unblock myself creatively. Later, I trained in life coaching and teaching and set up a successful English tutoring practice. Through this, I discovered that I had a talent for helping people to overcome the fears, blocks and shame that can stop them from fully-expressing themselves in writing.
“To the 18-year-old kid I stopped on SR10”
That’s the start of an open letter written by a police officer in North Ridgeville, Ohio a few months ago. The short missive, which directly addresses a young man caught doing 100 mph in a 65-mph zone, is an interesting example of expressive writing in letter form. The officer describes the speeder’s reaction when he was stopped; expresses anger at his disregard for the possible consequences of his driving; talks about past experiences with fatal crashes involving young people who were going too fast; and relates his own feelings about having issued the speeding ticket.
Great news! Lapidus International has managed to arrange a deal with Balens to insure your work as practitioners in words for wellbeing. This insurance will give you peace of mind if you are running writing groups or selling your services as it covers three areas:
* Professional Insurance. This covers alleged malpractice, such as a complaint about your practice and where there may have been a breach of your professional duties.
* Public liability. This covers accidental injuries to third parties, and third party damages.
* Product liability. This covers accidental injury to third parties caused by your products. This category may not seem that relevant for us, but in cases where members combine writing with other activities this may be very useful.
Every month, Richard, the Lapidus International Coordinator, is going to write a ‘From The Desk’ article to give an update of the day-to-day activity that goes on in the Lapidus International Office. This is the very first one of those updates and it's extra spooky!
This weekend, a good friend of mine attended the first-ever Stockholm Writers Festival, where Jessica Lourey was a guest speaker. Ms. Lourey, an author and writing facilitator, has a moving story about the role of stories in her life – specifically, how re-writing your most difficult moments can bring a new perspective, closure, and freedom.
I’m a notebook freak.
I buy them whenever I come across them. Spiral-bound or stapled; hardcover or soft; all sizes, shapes, and colors; extra points if the cover makes me laugh. I prefer them with lines: pale blue tracks that route my train of thought, long corridors where my words run like the bulls in Spain: coursing, angular, driven.