Write like a Grrrl: Russia

Write like a Grrrl is taught in Moscow and Kazan by two amazing women, Sasha Shadrina and Svetlana Lukyanova who run feminist website no-kidding

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Svetlana Lukyanova has a degree in philology and specialises in children’s literature. She is co-founder and coeditor at No-kidding.ru and works as a writer in PR.

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And now facilitates Write like a Grrrl in Kazan…

Four years ago me and Sasha started a site with feminist critique of popular culture. Our goal was to fight stereotypes, but, more importantly, we wanted to make a space for women to share their experience and thoughts. But we soon found out that there are not a lot of authors around. So it became clear that we need to find, encourage and maybe teach them ourselves.

Writing is my job, but the last time I wrote fiction was 5 years ago. Because of perfectionism and self-doubt I was too afraid to start writing fiction again. I thought it wasn’t the time.

I immediately saw what Write like a Grrrl courses could do for a woman like me — who struggles with self-doubt and fear of failure. They helped me a lot. And I am happy to help other female writers.

When I was studying at university I wanted to become a professor and teach students. It didn’t happen, at least, it hasn’t happened yet. But in a way my dream did come true, thanks to WLAG. I enjoy teaching. I always feel happy when girls share their thoughts and feelings. It’s a blessing to be in the room with all these talented smart women being comfortable to talk about personal stuff. Sometimes I feel like a cheater because I learn from them a lot. And I like it when we laugh and we laugh a lot at our workshops.

Check out Write like a Grrrl: Russia…

 

 

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Grrrl Con

Over two days in Edinburgh, Write Like a Grrrl and For Books’ Sake championed writing by women and celebrated the women writers we love with a diverse, amazing programme of practical talks, workshops and advice. Over 90 women attended Grrrl Con and a brilliant, inspiring time was had by all.

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Aimed at emerging women writers of all levels, Grrrl Con provided over 90 attendees with the opportunity to connect and collaborate with a nationwide community, while delivering all the essential tools, insight and inspiration to revolutionise writing craft and confidence.

Grrrl Con combined exciting, inspirational talks from established women writers and literary influencers with practical, interactive workshops aimed at equipping attendees with new tools, insights and approaches.

Each day featured talks from the UK’s most innovative and original women writers, along with a range of workshops, with attendees able to tailor their individual itineraries to best suit their own personal writing aims and ambitions.

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Dame Denise Mina being interviewed

Our guests…

Jackie Kay: Renowned for her humour, warmth and talent, Jackie Kay, MBE, has been awarded numerous prizes for her creative works, including the Somerset Maugham Award for her poetry collection Other Lovers (1994), the Guardian Fiction Prize for her debut novel, Trumpet (1998), and the British Book Awards Writer of the Year (2007). She writes poetry, fiction and drama, and her most recent books include poetry collections Fiere and Reality, and her memoir, Red Dust Road.

Jenny Brown: Founder of Jenny Brown Associates, one of the UK’s leading literary agencies, Jenny was previously Head of Literature at the Scottish Arts Council, presenter of book programmes for Scottish Television, and founder Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival (of which she is now a Board member). She is also a former Committee member of the Association of Authors’ Agents and was shortlisted in 2014 for the Agent of the Year Award. She is Chair of the Bloody Scotland crime writing festival.

Denise Mina: Dame Denise Mina is a critically acclaimed Glaswegian crime writer. Her novels include The End of the Wasp Season and Gods and Beasts, both of which won the prestigious Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award in consecutive years. Denise also writes short stories and plays, and is the author of the Garnethill trilogy. She was inducted into thr Crime Writers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2014.

Amina Shah: A passionate advocate for literacy and books, Amina is the Scottish Book Trust’s Director of Programme. She has worked with Heads of Public Libraries, COSLA, The Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Carnegie UK Trust and Scottish Book Trust on developing the first National Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland, and will be delivering a talk on finding the motivation to keep writing.

Leone Ross: A novelist, short story writer, editor and lecturer in fiction writing. Leone was born in England and grew up in Jamaica. Her first novel, All The Blood Is Red was published by Angela Royal Publishing in 1996 and translated into French. The novel was long listed for the Orange Prize in 1997. Her second critically acclaimed novel, Orange Laughter was published in the UK by Anchor Press, in the USA by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Picador USA and in France by Actes Sud.  Her third novel, This One Sky Day, and her short story collection, Come Let Us Sing Anyway, will be published in 2016.

Kirsty Logan:  Professional daydreamer Kirsty is the author of short story collection The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales (Salt, 2014), which was recently awarded the Polari First Book Prize, and debut novel The Gracekeepers (Harvill Secker, 2015). Her latest book, A Portable Shelter (ASLS, 2015), is a collection of stories inspired by Scottish folktales.

Lucy Ribchester: Fiction and dance writer Lucy’s debut novel The Hourglass Factory was published earlier this year. In 2013, she received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award for the opening chapters of the book, while her story The Glassblower’s Daughter was a finalist for the 2014 Costa Short Story Award.

Helen Sedgwick: Writer and literary editor Helen’s debut novel, The Comet Seekers, will be published in 2016 by Harvill Secker in the UK and HarperCollins in the US and Canada. She’s been writing since 2007, won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2012 and her writing has been published internationally and broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Khadijah Ibrahiim:  Born in Leeds of Jamaican parentage, Khadijah is a published poet, live artist, theatre maker, producer and the Artistic Director of Leeds Young Authors. Hailed as one of Yorkshire’s most prolific poets by BBC Radio, she has appeared on many international stages. Her poetry collection Another Crossing was published by Peepal Tree Press in 2014.

Marjorie Lotfi Gill:  Poet in Residence at Jupiter Artland, Marjorie is co-founder of The Belonging Project, reflecting on the flight, journey and assimilation of refugees, and Open Book, a charity running shared reading and writing groups for adults in the community. Marjorie’s poems have been published in a variety of journals and anthologies in the UK and US, and have been performed on BBC Radio 4.

Praise for Grrrl Con:

“Before Grrrl Con I thought I’d never have a book but now apparently I’ve got two to finish. It showed me the ability I have, and how not to shy away from it!”

“I’ve gained confidence, new techniques and ways to improve my writing, a list of women
writers I want to read, and a fantastic community. An amazingly useful weekend that has
motivated and inspired.”

“You’ve given me self­-belief. For someone with none, that’s an unforgettable feeling. Thank you.”

“Incredibly amazing, engaging, life affirming, practical, inspiring and empowering.”

“I’ve learnt to trust my instincts and gained confidence, as well as a clear idea for a novel

and an almost complete synopsis. I’m inspired!”

“I feel so inspired, so supported and so lucky to be in this nurturing environment. Grrrl Con has provided a community for me ­ it is truly my home and where I feel that I belong.”

“Realistic but encouraging ­ made everything feel more reachable. Each session had knowledge, encouragement and inspiration ­ the weekend has done so much for my
confidence and motivation, and makes my pursuits feel legitimate and feasible.”

For more information, see Grrrl Con

Contact us!

 

Learning to write like a grrrl…

Read this wonderful review of Nikki Lou’s experience at one of our Ignite courses in the North, facilitated by Jane Bradley…

The day I attended in Liverpool was led by Jane Bradley, the founder and director of For Book’s Sake. Jane is a published author and has also experience in editing, which made her ideal for taking us through the writing process. Whilst I was a bit anxious to meet her in person after interacting on twitter, she could not have been lovelier. She put us all at ease, whilst keeping the course content on track.

The course took us through the writing process, helping us to explore key areas such as characterisation, setting and dialogue, and helping us break down the barriers that stop us from writing. There was opportunity for discussion with Jane and the other attendees on the course and it was really positive that there was such an open dialogue.

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I came away from the course, not only with pages of notes, but with the beginnings of several new pieces of writing and a confidence in my ability as a writer I lost a long time ago. I walked straight to the nearest stationery shop once the course ended and bought myself a new notebook and a pack of pens. I have since been filling that notebook with bits of writing and ideas, and I carry it everywhere with me.

Write Like a Grrl was such a rewarding experience. It helped me recover my writing mojo and it has given me a new confidence and bags of motivation. I can’t quite believe that one day has made such a difference! Jane has helped me believe in myself as a writer again, and since the course I have been working on a new short story and planning a whole bunch of posts for my blog. I highly recommend the workshop and I am hoping that at some point I’ll be able to get to a three day course!

For the full blog post, check out Nikki Lou Writes…

Contact us!

Mookychick interview…

Check out this wonderful Mookychick interview with our Grrrl in Scotland, Claire Askew

Can we just say that Write Like a Grrrl is a genius idea.

It came from Kerry Ryan, WLAG! founder and our brilliant London tutor. She invented the course as a result of her own struggles with her novel;  she was completing her PhD at the time, so she was up against a major deadline. Kerry’s also a mum – in short, she understands how tricky it can be to juggle the many commitments in your life and find time for writing! She realised that there didn’t seem to be any writing courses acknowledging that women writers face different (and often more) barriers to writing than their male counterparts. So, being the badass that she is, she started one.

Who are the other Write Like a Grrrls behind the scene?

Kerry approached For Books’ Sake (the unstoppable force behind the Derby Shorts short story and Furies poetry anthologies), and FBS‘s equally brilliant Jane Bradley immediately got on board. Jane is a total powerhouse – she runs the Manchester courses and handles all the behind-the-scenes stuff for WLAG!

Then there’s me. I saw courses being offered in London and Manchester and thought: wow, this looks amazing, why do cool things like this never happen in Scotland? Then I thought, wait, I’m a creative writing tutor, I could bring this to Scotland! So I emailed Kerry and Jane, pitched myself as a tutor and they very kindly (and bravely) brought me on board and trained me up.

About nine months on, we’ve now worked with over 100 women writers and we’re booking up WLAG! courses for a brand new autumn semester!

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How do the WLAG! courses work?

Each course is six weeks long. We aim to have no more than twelve women in each class, so everyone gets a chance to speak, listen and feel included.

WEEK 1: Women meet and are introduced to the course material. We then have a big discussion about what prevents them from writing: what barriers do they face? This discussion is always really fascinating and sometimes touches on some strong emotions, so the class bonds really quickly as a result. By the end of session one there’s usually a sudden feeling of shared community. Women say things like, “I thought I was the only one who struggled with this, but now I have eleven new friends who can relate!” It’s pretty wonderful to see and hear.

WEEKS 2, 3 and 4: We concentrate on character, dialogue and setting – how to start tackling them, and how to write them well. In the fifth week everyone takes what they’ve learned so far and creates a piece of writing.

FINAL WEEK: We use that piece of writing to learn about editing, and what happens next. There’s also a lot of cake involved throughout!

The course is built on the idea that a lot of what we’ve all been told about writing is a big myth: for example, waiting for the creative Muse to be upon you. That idea just doesn’t work if you have a stressful job, you’re a caregiver and you’re studying!

WLAG! is all about finding little windows of time in your day, and using them to create writing that makes you happy.

Oh, and we’re now running something called Write Like A Grrrl!: The Next Step. This is for women who’ve completed WLAG! but want more. They can now come back for another six-week course that incorporates more ‘advanced’ stuff, including group workshopping and critiquing. On the Next Step course we also bring in publishers, editors and other industry professionals to chat to the women about taking their writing to the next level.

For more of this interview, check out Mookychick

Contact us!

 

 

 

A Thoroughly Modern Millennial

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Enjoy this review of a London day course by Ria from Thoroughly Modern Millennial

Last Saturday I pulled myself out of bed at 6am and hopped off on the coach to Camden. Why? Well, I decided to see if I had what it takes to ‘Write Like A Grrl’.

You may have seen some of my tweets already but just in case you haven’t here’s the lowdown on the organisation.

Write Like A Grrl‘ was a course developed especially for female writers. Founded in 2013 by Kerry Ryan, the aim was to help women of all writing abilities to overcome the barriers that stop them from writing and give them the skills to keep on going. They now run both six week and one day intensive courses In conjunction with ‘For Books’ Sake’.

Over 200 women had passed through the courses and I was about to be one of them.

Before the session in London I was an absolute a bundle of nerves. I had never been to a writing course before – the closest I’d gotten to was English Literature classes at school. The writing groups near me seemed to be filled with a) cis-men b) ‘proper’ literary folk who read ‘serious’ novels and probably considered YA the lowest form of fiction (what do they know!), which utterly put me off them. I also hated the idea of reading my work out loud. I may like posting it online but sharing it in front of actual people? No thanks.

So there I was that morning nervously perched in an ultra swish co-working space overlooking The Stables Market.

Kerry herself led the London course. She’s a bundle of anarchic Scottish energy, feisty, but encouraging, wonderfully blunt, but entirely reasonable and considerate. She’s a brilliant teacher and a great person to open up to who made everyone in the group feel totally welcome as we tackled ‘the fear’ in the first part of the workshop. The barriers that stopped us all started toppling out with ease. The Internet. Comparing yourself to other writers. ‘Real Life’ responsibilities. Lack of confidence. Even the feeling of instant gratification of writing a blog post instead of a book (points big arrow to me)

With that out of the way we spend the rest of the time concentrating on writing technique and exercises, learning how to read like a writer and then finally a short story session where we all went away and tried to pull together everything we’d learnt that day.

By the end of the day I was smiling and feel like an entire bookshelf had lifted off my shoulders.

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One of the main takeaways from the workshop was how much I enjoyed being in such a brilliantly supportive room of women. All of eight us had our fears and doubts. Most of them echoed across age groups and backgrounds, from the most amateur writers to the published.

The second was that it’s all about the journey, not the end goal. We’ve been challenged to just do 15 minutes a day and to try and enjoy that 15 minutes. The journey is what matters not the destination.

And lastly was my favourite quote from the day (and is linked with that feeling of joy).

“You deserve to tell your story”

‘Deserve’ is the defining word here. Writing often feels selfish, lonely and trivial. Calling yourself a ‘writer’ feels pretentious. I spend most of my own time feeling like an impostor when it comes to writing because I’m not ‘JK Rowling/John Green/Sylvia Plath’ level of genius.

But you should never feel as if writing is a ‘treat’, you should never feel that you’re not good enough to write. You should feel confident enough to call yourself a writer not matter what level you enter the game at. And more importantly you deserve to feel the joy of creation and imagination, not the overwhelming pressure of the end goal.

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A final thanks to Kerry and Writer Like A Grrl for such a great session! And my fellow ‘graduates’ for being so lovely too.

For more blogging brilliance from Ria, see Thoroughly Modern Millennial

Write like a Grrrl

Write like a Grrrl offers creative writing courses for women across the UK in collaboration with For Books’ Sake. Courses include our six week Ignite course and the six-week progression course, The Next Step which take place in Manchester, London, and Edinburgh throughout the year, as well as our intensive day courses in Liverpool, Leeds, Brighton and Bristol.

What we do

With our Ignite and The Next Step courses, you’ll learn how to push through doubt, reduce fear of the blank page, become disciplined in your practice and enjoy writing so much more. You’ll also become skilled in characterisation, dialogue, creating dynamic settings and other essential writing techniques.

If you haven’t written creatively before but always wanted to, or if you haven’t written for some time and want to kick-start your practice, then this low-cost, intensive course is for you.

Write like a Grrrl graduates have been published in anthologies, journals, magazines online and offline, been short-listed for and won competitions, completed novels and some have been signed by literary agents, but most importantly, they’ve learned to enjoy writing regularly instead of procrastinating, binging and pushing themselves too hard, too fast.

Kerry Ryan, writer, tutor and founder of Write like a Grrrl: “I began Write like a Grrrl in 2013 when teaching at the Feminist Library. Many of the talented women I met at the Library lacked confidence and found it difficult to find the time to write because of busy lives and problems with procrastination/binging. I knew all about those struggles but had managed to overcome them and was able to pass on what I’d learned to women at the Library. In 2014, I approached For Books’ Sake, a brilliant not-for-profit whose mission is to create a community that centres, supports and champions writing by women and girls. Together we now offer six week creative writing courses across the UK as well as advanced and day courses.

Over two hundred women have graduated from our Write like a Grrrl courses.

To be able to help women overcome barriers and sit down and write daily with confidence is one of the best jobs in the world, second only to writing itself. Bringing women together, witnessing them make friends, support each other and build confidence in their writing has been an amazing experience.

Feedback from our graduates…

☆ “I have honestly never been in a better learning environment. Write Like a Grrrl is amazing.”

☆ “The course has massively increased my confidence in my writing.”

☆”I came away from the course, not only with pages of notes, but with the beginnings of several new pieces of writing and a confidence in my ability as a writer I lost a long time ago.  Write Like a Grrrl was such a rewarding experience. It helped me recover my writing mojo, and has given me a new confidence and bags of motivation.”

☆I loved the down-to-earth atmosphere and the mixture of practical advice and tools. The exercises were great! The dialogue exercise was particularly eye-opening. Looking at both story craft and barriers to writing together,was a great combination – really useful to tackle both at the same time.

☆ The whole course was well crafted and thought through. I particularly enjoyed the part about characterisation, however this is just a personal choice, the whole day was great and really useful! Thanks for encouraging us to create a Write like a Grrrl writing group.

For more testimonials, check out: Grrrls

Tutors

Kerry Ryan: South of England tutor & founder of Write like a Grrrl

Kerry founded Write like a Grrrl in 2013 at the Feminist Library. Write like a Grrrl now offers creative writing courses for women across the UK in collaboration with For Books’ Sake.

Kerry’s writing has featured in a range of publications including The Kenyon Review, 3:am magazine, Indigo Rising and, most recently, The Manchester Review

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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 which was shortlisted in Myriad Editions First Drafts Competition in 2014.

Kerry has a PhD in creative writing and has facilitated writing workshops at the Feminist Library, Glasgow Women’s Library and with women leaving sex work at Routes Out. Kerry is also Fiction Editor for The Weekend Read at For Books’ Sake.

☆Kerry was so approachable, generous and real with us. She created an atmosphere that allowed us to dive in and not feel judged. She also encouraged us to build community between ourselves. You can tell Kerry runs the workshop out of genuine love, not only for her subject but for giving burgeoning writers a big boost!

Jane Bradley: North of England tutor, writer & founder & director of For Books’ Sake

Jane is a fiction writer and editor whose short stories have appeared in print and online around the globe, most recently in The Fem Lit, Spoke: An Anthology of New Queer Voices (Dog Horn Publishing), and Convertible (Pankhearst). Her first full-length play, The Curse, debuted in Manchester in March 2016, and was supported by Arts Council England.

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Jane has been longlisted for the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, a Young Enigma Award, and selected as one of Nokia’s fifty Remarkable Women. She is also a participant in Commonword’s Women in the Spotlight programme.

Jane is the founder and director of For Books’ Sake, the charitable organisation championing writing by women, and the editor of short story collections Short Stack (2012), Derby Shorts (2013), Tongue in Cheek (2015) and (RE)Sisters (2016).

 

Claire Askew: Scotland tutor, award-winning poet & author

Claire is a poet, writer, creative writing teacher and groupwork facilitator living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of publications including The Guardian, The Sunday Mail, The Dark Horse, and PANK. Poems of Claire’s have also been selected for inclusion in the Scottish Poetry Library’s annual Best Scottish Poems anthology an amazing three times (2008, 2009 and 2014). Her work has been recognised by numerous awards, including the International Salt Prize for Poetry, the Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition, the Charles Causley Poetry Competition and the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Claire’s debut pamphlet collection, The Mermaid and the Sailors, was published in 2011 by Red Squirrel Press: poems from it won the 2009 William Sharpe Hunter Memorial Scholarship for Creative Writing, and the 2010 Virginia Warbey Poetry Prize. Her first full length collection, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe Books in early 2016, and Claire is working on her first novel, Three Rivers (working title) which won the Lucy Cavendish Prize in 2016, and was longlisted for the Peggy Chapman-Andrews (Bridport) Novel Award in 2014. For a full list of all Claire’s publications, please click here.

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Claire is also an experienced performer, and has read her work at events and festivals across the UK and beyond. She acted as an official Scottish “slambassador” for the 2011 City2Cities Literature Festival in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and has performed at Aye Write!, StAnza Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival (2009 and 2014), and in the Free Fringe, to name but a few. Claire’s a Literary Death Match winner (Edinburgh, 2012), a co-convenor of Shore Poets, and an experienced poetry slam judge.

Want to find out more? Contact us!

Write like a Grrrl: Brighton

Write like a Grrrl & For Books’ Sake visited Brighton in June this year and what a time was had. It was brilliant to meet such enthusiastic women of all ages and backgrounds raring to get writing.

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New Writing South were our hosts for this intensive day course. A brilliant, welcoming venue which does a wonderful job of supporting writing in Brighton and beyond. New Writing South is a creative writing hub in south-east England, dedicated to inspiring, nurturing and connecting all kinds of excellent creative writers.

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Feedback from the Brighton grrrls:

☆ I loved the down to earth atmosphere and the mixture of practical advice and tools. The exercises were great! The dialogue exercise was particularly eye-opening. Looking at both story craft and barriers to writing together, was a great combination – really useful to tackle both at the same time.

☆ The whole course was well-crafted and thought through. I particularly enjoyed  characterisation; however, this is just a personal choice, the whole day was great and really useful! Thanks for encouraging us to create a Write like a Grrrl writing group!

☆Kerry was so approachable, generous and real with us. She created an atmosphere that allowed us to dive in and not feel judged. She also encouraged us to build community between ourselves. You can tell Kerry runs the workshop out of genuine love, not only for her subject but for giving burgeoning writers a big boost!

For more information about our courses, contact us!

 

 

 

 

Jess Glaisher

Write like a Grrrl: London

Earlier this year, I did some re-evaluating of my work life balance and decided that I needed to make more time for my other passions – writing being the main one I wanted to focus on. I’ve been writing for a long time but never had the discipline to finish things, I hoped Write Like A Grrrl would help me!

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I felt pretty apprehensive on the first day. I’d missed the first week (work again!) so felt a bit ‘behind’…until I sat down and talked to the other Grrrls. By the end of the session I was feeling inspired and excited to continue writing.

Every week, I looked forward to the workshop. I particularly enjoyed comparing extracts from novels/short stories to illustrate the methods being taught with regard to characterisation, setting etc. The second week’s short story workshop was excellent – an hour of planning and an hour of writing – the time went so quickly that I spent another hour on the story later that day!

It’s upped my confidence in my ability enormously, especially with regard to proofreading and editing my work.

I know now that when I sit down to write I don’t need to wait for the fairy of inspiration to perch on my shoulder, that I can write something and that writing for even a short time can, in itself, improve my mood and confidence.

By the end of the course I felt inspired to keep writing, and sad that it was over. I signed up for The Next Step course as soon as it was available! I felt like I had a toolkit to help me with writing hurdles and a support group of other women writers.

I would say to anyone considering the course, to sign up now!  You won’t find a more supportive and helpful group. The relatively small size of the class allows for plenty of participation throughout and you’ll be among people who are trying to achieve the same thing you are – to write and keep writing – which this course will certainly help you do.

To book a course, see For Books’Sake

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.

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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

Nadia Henderson

Write like a Grrrl: London

I signed up for the six week Write like a Grrrl course in 2014 because I hadn’t written any fiction in a while and knew that I wanted to get back into it. However, I was really lacking in motivation.

The course was good value and I really liked the idea of a women’s writing group but on the first day I was very nervous! I’m not the best at speaking to new people, especially about my own writing. But everyone was so friendly and the atmosphere was so relaxed and encouraging.

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It became so rewarding to attend this course every week. I loved having the opportunity to hang out with like-minded women and Kerry created a really welcoming and fun atmosphere and did a great job of making me feel good about where I was with my writing.

I really liked how the sessions were planned – new elements of the story building process explained each week and this was really helpful. We were able to work on each piece (dialogue, characterisation, etc.) separately, building up the story. For me, the highlight was the dialogue exercise, it made me approach writing dialogue completely differently.

By the end of the course, I felt very inspired to continue, and had a renewed passion for short story writing in particular. The course gave me a much-needed confidence boost, too, and I realised my writing isn’t actually that bad!

These days. I am working hard to write (almost) every day, and WLAG definitely pushed me to consider the importance of brief daily writing sessions. I’m also a lot more aware of what to aim for and what to avoid in my writing.

Write like a Grrrl offered a no-pressure, encouraging and fun environment that got me feeling excited about writing. I’d recommend it for women at all writing levels – whether you just have a mild interest you’d like to nurture or want to rekindle your creativity.

Read more of the wonderful Nadia at: Not So Quiet Girl To book one of our courses, see For Books’ Sake