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Sundays of Gentle Creativity: Writing from Observation

Sundays of Gentle Creativity: Writing from Observation


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Observation is at the heart of any creative practice. The more weobserve and record, the richer our toolkit becomes. What we discover through observation is our main resource when we face the page. Everything we have observed is subsequently at our disposal when we write.

In each two-hour workshop of gentle writing, we'll explore how writing from observation can lead to story, memory, ideas about the world, and how description can be used to create a sense of time passing and serve as grounding in a narrative.

Above all, we'll write and share work.

“I need to write down my observations. Even the tiniest ones; they're the most important.” Tove Jansson, Art in Nature 

Each session will include three sets of writing time – 10, 15, and 20 minutes – each prompted by a different theme. If you're working on a project, Sundays of Gentle Creativity will be a space to produce a significant word count, and if you're about to start a new project, the weekly workshops will be a chance to explore the direction you may want to take. You're also welcome to join us to write without plan or intention and see where the writing takes you.

There'll be time to share work and receive feedback in small and larger groups, and there'll be suggestions for focused writing time in the week between each session.

The June – July workshops will continue our recent focus on how we as writers can learn from the visual artist's practice. Writing is a visual art. We evoke people, places, objects and landscapes through words. Through writing while observing, you'll gain deeper insight into your unique way of using language and interpreting the world.

These are some of the themes we'll cover:

  • Week 1 Observing Things: Memory and Fantasy
  • Week 2 Observing People: Shifting Perspectives
  • Week 3 Observing Crowds: Philosophical and Political Ideas
  • Week 4 Observing the Self: Delaying the Story
  • Week 5 Observing Nature: Metaphor and the Metaphysical
  • Week 6 Observing Art: Translation and Magic

Join us to experience writing as movement, as flow, following the pen towards a mode of least resistance, least intention, the only intention being the writing itself. Discover the importance of surprising ourselves in the writing process, and explore ways of capturing that feeling of writing for the love it.

What writers say about the workshops:

  • "Writing together creates an energy of support & togetherness. Reading in other languages. Shaun shows me over & over that there is inspiration in everything. Life is the prompt, in this moment. I just have to open myself to it & write."
  • "The prompts, playful, seemingly spontaneous, joyous, fun."
  • "I enjoyed the confluence of bringing our own projects/characters/intentions and receiving words/images/connections from others. By encouraging play and resonance, I was able to lower my editorial defenses... discovering unexpected images or turns. When I began working with this material on my own, it unfolded into entirely new shapes."

Sundays of Gentle Creativity workshops are open to all writers everywhere, all levels and all genres. All you'll need is a willingness to write and be open to the surprises in your work. Although the workshops will be in English, participants are welcome to write in any language.

Limited to 15 participants 

Place: Zoom

Dates and Times:

  • 23 June – 28 July
  • 6 - 8pm Central European Time. Click here for the corresponding time where you are.

Cost: €175 (€150 before 8 June, use discount code EARLYBIRD)

“Making reality real is art's responsibility. It is a practical assignment, then, a self-assignment: to achieve, by a cultivated sensitivity for observing life, a capacity for receiving impressions, a lonely, unremitting, unaided, unaidable vision, and transferring this vision without distortion to it onto the pages of a novel, where, if the reader is so persuaded, it will turn into the reader's illusion.” Eudora Welty, On Writing 

    About the tutor: Shaun Levin is the author of Alone with a Man in a Room, Mark: A Novel, and Seven Sweet Things, amongst other books. His short stories have appeared in over 50 journals and collections, and have been anthologised alongside such writers as Nadine Gordimer, Ali Smith, and Edmund White. He has been teaching creative writing for over twenty years, most recently on Domestika, and is the author of The Writing Notebooks, a series of guides for writers taking on book-length projects.