Sunday, 9 May 2010


I have been out and about recently gaining more information and ideas for articles. I think it does writers good to put their pens down, close their computers down and get up from their chairs and go out into the big world once in a while. It can become a bit claustrophobic and I find I get a bit of cabin fever if I'm stuck inside writing for too long. But I don't always want to stop what I'm writing. So I have a dilemma: do I interrupt my writing flow to relocate and get some fresh air? Or do I stay in doors and become hermit like? I chose the former.

I've been feeling a little restless of late and I'm finding it increasingly difficut to do anything about the ideas for articles I have in my head and written in various notebooks.I also want to get my next two assignments for the journalism course I'm doing out of the way as I am in danger of forgetting I'm even doing a course if I don't buckle down to it soon! This is why I think doing a course that has assignment deadlines like the OU does is a good idea if you lack the ability to motivate yourself. The Writers' Bureau one I'm doing now gives you about four years to complete the course -  I need to self impose some deadlines I think or it could well take me four years to finish it.

Yesterday I went to a school reunion. They've built a new school behind the current one and the current one is due to be knocked down soon, so it was our last chance to take a look around. It was strange going back. I left in 1987 - a long time ago. I was struck by how old the ex-students all looked! Then it struck me: oh my Lord I must look that old too! It was a bit of a shock that required a sit down in the canteen with a strong cup of tea! I didn't see anyone from my year but saw many faces I thought I recognised but wasn't quite sure. I spoke with some of my old teachers and our old headmaster but I didn't really get a sense of nostalgia and there was no emotion attached to the school -  I didn't really feel anything when I was walking around  - just had a sense of how noisy and crowded it was and the fact that I once pounded these halls with my aged 11-16 feet!

It was an opportunity to take my daughter round who was amazed that mummy used to attend that school! It also gave me some great ideas to base some articles on  -  if I could only gather enough umph to write them! I also bumped into the Percussion teacher I interviewed some time back. He'd done an African drumming workshop at my writing group and yesterday he was doing the same workshop in The Edge  -  a small theatre/community space attached to the school (it used to be the old gym when I was at school). So it was nice to see him again. And a timely reminded to get a ruddy move on with the articles I'm writing about him and his work!

Today my family and I went to Attingham Park, a sprawling estate with a wonderful manor house near Atcham which is on the way to Shrewsbury. I've been there many times before and as the weather was so nice, we decided to have a walk within the beautiful grounds  -  a truly inspirational place for writers! I have taken some pictures so will post some on here when I've got them on my computer so if you've never been there you can see what a great place it is. I will also be writing there one day soon if anyone who lives close enough wants to join me.

I find that by going to places  -   it doesn't matter where but a variety of places works best: a cafe one day, the countryside another day, a town park, a skating rink, spectating at a swimming pool, anywhere you like where there will be nature, or other people, quietness one day and noise another - gives you a great pool of resources when setting your story/article. You can really soak up the atmosphere and note down what it feels like to be there: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Use all your senses while you are there, take loads of photos and notes, ask lots of questions. You will have a mountain of subject matter to write about as well as enjoy the experience of being somewhere else. This really kick starts my creativity. If I've been feeling a bit stale writing wise, I go somewhere else. It doesn't need to be far away, but just a different environment to engage your brain into experiencing something different from your normal routine.

Don't forget to get out and about. Now the weather is better (occasionally) it's easier to get out into the great outdoors!

Have fun exploring and don't be afraid to open yourself up to different experiences - your writing will thank you for it.

Julie xx


  1. How wonderful to be able to look around your old school before it was demolished. They knocked one of my old schools down a few years back, but I only heard about it well after the event. Felt really sad - I'd spent a couple of very happy years there.


  2. I was glad I was able to go, Suzanne as I was happy there, apart from some bullying at one stage - name calling mainly. And there were a few faces there I'd rather not have seen to be honest! But, on the whole, it was a positive experience but it's been so long since I was there any emotion or memories associated with the place had faded. I managed to get a commemorative mug and the school band were really good. It was so strange talking to the teachers as an adult instead as a child!And introducing my own daughter to them - surreal.

    I'm sad that the school is going to be knocked down but I'm pleased the coming generations of Wenlockians are going to have use of this brilliant new building with all the mod cons we never had! To be honest the school could have done with a revamp when I was there in the 1980s so I'm glad it's finally going to happen.

    Julie xx