How often do you have the opportunity to indulge a passion? Well last week I did just that on an Arvon writing course.
Wet and late was not how I had planned to arrive after six months of anticipation, but no one told the M62 or the
weather. Winding my way through the narrow lanes, the weather getting worse,
the light fading and the directions getting evermore complicated I begin to
question my judgement at booking this in the first place. But when I finally
arrive the warm welcome calms my anxiety, reassuring me of my choice for a week
The Arvon foundation runs residential courses to assist writers with unlocking their creativity. I chose Beginning to Write at Lumb Bank, a house set in the stunningly beautiful
West Yorkshire countryside
that once belonged to Ted Hughes.
Our tutors for the week are as contrasting as they are inspiring. The irrepressible poet, Lemn Sissay, energetic and funny; the wonderful and insightful Hannah Pool a journalist and author. Both equally passionate about writing and helping others develop their voice and style. They guide us through the stimulating workshops with a good mix of technical information, enthusiasm and humour.
Living at Lumb Bank with the 15 other students is an experience in it’s self. Sharing creativity and talent along side cooking and washing up, they become a surrogate family; warm, nurturing, good fun and with the odd strange one (mentioning no names, you know who you are). As the week rolls on, the wine and conversation flow more easily and lasting friendships are formed.
So what did I learn? I have a voice, inspiration is everywhere, self editing is vital and most importantly, write something, anything, every single day and trust the process. Would I go again? Without hesitate. Before the course I packed plenty of guilt with my laptop and wellies, leaving the girls with their Dad for a week felt very selfish. But I have come home with so much more than a technical improvement in my writing, I have focus, motivation and a new, wonderful feeling of being at peace with myself.