Sian Norris

Write like a Grrrl: Bristol day course

I’d never done any creative writing courses or workshops before – I’ve been writing for years but have never had any formal training! And so I thought if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it in an all-woman space, and obviously I write for FBS sometimes and so I trusted that if it was connected to them, it would be good.

I was hoping to meet other writers in the city and chat to them about writing and the work they were doing. At the point of the course I was about 2/3 in to the second draft of my novel and I kind of wanted a bit of a boost – some chance to check in that what I was doing was going in the right direction, and to try and get some pointers about how to keep going.

The morning of the day course I was really excited – a bit nervous, and hopeful that I was going to learn new skills and meet new people!

The whole day was great. The pace was perfect – we covered a lot of information but it never felt too much or overwhelming, or that it was dragging on. The dynamic of the group was really great – people willing to get involved and pitch in. I really enjoyed the dialogue exercise – I think this is the thing I have found most useful going forward. It really made me think about how to create atmosphere and tension.


I found the discussion about barriers to writing and how we overcome them was absolutely vital. It felt everyone was very honest about their own barriers, difficulties, and the strategies we shared to overcome them really gave me a boost and helped me focus on the ‘excuses’ I make not to write and just get on and do it.

By the end of the day I felt brilliant! Really confident and focused on how I was going to get my novel finished. It was such an inspiring and exciting day.
The course has had a huge impact on my writing. Firstly because I have completely changed my ‘writing timetable’. I’ve stopped waiting for the ‘perfect time’ to write and am just getting on and doing it. It’s really motivated me to keep going and the progress I’ve made with my novel has been phenomenal. The techniques I learnt around dialogue and setting have also added a new layer of richness to my writing – where before things were feeling a bit flat they now have a lot more energy and emotion to them.

But I think the main thing was just realising that I needed to get on with writing and get into a routine – it has made a huge difference to me and I feel so much more confident that I’m going to get the 3rd draft of my novel finished. I know that if I hadn’t gone on the course I’d still be working to my old piecemeal routine and not making the progress I am. And I’m really proud of the progress I’ve been making!

Kerry was a brilliant teacher and facilitator who made everyone feel comfortable, confident and inspired.

I would say to women thinking of signing up for the course to DO IT! Whether you’re starting out or, like me, have been writing for a while, it’s a really good opportunity to check in, meet other women, get some confidence, learn some new skills and develop your writing routine into one that is healthy and works for you. Even though I’ve been writing for years and have been published, it was a real wake up call – a chance to stop, take stock and learn new skills.
To read more of Sian writing, see Sian and Crooked Rib

To book a course, see For Books’Sake

Published by writelikeagrrrl

Kerry Ryan has a PhD in creative writing and has tutored writing workshops at the Feminist Library, Glasgow Women’s Library and with women leaving sex work at Routes Out. Her writing has featured in a range of publications including The Kenyon Review, 3:am magazine, Alternative and Indigo Rising. Her story, The Bird, won first prize in Spilling Ink’s short story competition. She is currently writing a novel set in London in 1914, The Art of Mimicry, which was recently shortlisted in Myriad Editions Writer’s Retreat Competition.