Write & Shine runs a programme of workshops & online courses gathering people to write together in the morning light. They welcome busy Londoners seeking space for creativity in their lives. The sessions are open to everyone, whether you’re new to writing, have some experience or simply want to enjoy an energising & inspiring start to your day!
Here is a note from founder, Gemma Seltzer, on how we can all use our creativity to slow down the pace and reflect and explore the corners of our mind!
A group of lively women arranged themselves for a photograph on a Baker Street tube platform. They had so much to say, telling stories at high speed while their hands danced through the air. Each wore a shiny raincoat and a handbag slung across her body. One, with auburn hair, directed them into position. Five of the women squeezed themselves onto a bench and two laid across their laps. Voices softening, they arranged their smiles and froze in place. I watched as they paused for a few seconds while a stranger captured the moment on a phone. Then the silence broke and they began laughing, talking and reaching for each other again.
On the train that day, I wondered about group photographs. How they allow us to mark moments in time by creating a record for the future. And also how posing for a snapshot offers us the chance to be still.
This is one of the core components of Write & Shine, the programme of morning writing workshops & courses I run. We welcome busy people seeking space to write and reflect, to think and explore their creative ideas. Our sessions are open to everyone. Those new to writing, those with some experience and those who simply want to enjoy an energising & inspiring start to the day.
Our sessions encourage people to leave their phones and devices in their bags and write by hand. Whether you prefer pencils, biros or fountain pens, plain paper or lined, research says we’re more focused when writing rather than typing. The distracting world of social media feels further away. Writing by hand slows us down, so allows us to access unexpected thoughts. Plus, you gain confidence in your words and ideas when you see them form in your own unique handwriting.
Writing by hand leads to a stronger sense of self. The sensations in the fingers, the ache of the wrist, the softness of the paper. There is something about the physical act of holding the pen that can bring you into the present. Modern life is so stimulating. It’s endlessly interesting, challenging and full, that is can be easy to lose days without ever focusing on the moment you’re living through. Writing by hand is a simple, mindful practice that helps you develop the ability to listen to yourself.
Not sure where to start? I recommend Julia Cameron’s technique of starting the day with ‘morning pages’. That is, filling three pages of your notebook by writing continuously as soon as you wake, when you’re still on the edge of sleep. It can help you let go of worries and ensure you can face the day ahead calmly and with clarity.
Back to the women at the station. I wrote about them all that week, trying to capture what I’d seen from a range of angles. They appeared too in one of my recent short stories, too. The practice of observing small moments is a big part of being a writer. Writing isn’t separate from real life, it isn’t something beyond the daily commute and your responsibilities. It isn’t something you’ll only do when you have more time or a space of your own—it is your real life. Now, find a notebook and go out into the world ready to hear what your pen has to say.
Join Write & Shine for a morning writing workshop exploring creativity, stationery & the wellbeing benefits of writing on Wednesday 24 October (7.45-9.30am, £20) in the Paperchase, Tottenham Court Road store. Find out more & book your place here: https://write-and-shine.com/featured/