Creative writing in January

Creative writing in January
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve © Louise Kenward

By Louise Kenward, writer-in-residence Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Like Janus, the Greek god of beginnings, gates, doorways and transitions, January is a time marker in the calendar, when we look back and look forwards. It is a two headed time. As such, it is commonly a time of reflection, of giving space to things lost and of making new plans, new commitments and intentions.

With reflection comes perspective. Our attitude towards, or memory of something can shift in a minute, a day, a year, ten. If we look back at the things we did ten years ago, twenty, it is informed by experiences that have happened since, often we can be transported back to significant times, the joyous ones and the difficult, in a flash. Time shifts about. This can be a rich source of material for writing, drawing on memories and how we relate to those places, those times, those people, now.

Reflection can be a helpful thing to do, often with our writing we need to put it in a drawer for a while, to digest what we’ve done, to get some perspective. It can be helpful to put things into perspective, to allow space for the joys and the challenges, to give time and respect to those memories and events before, to honour what has gone before.

Several months in to my residency at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, I am thinking again, about what I had planned, what is possible, and how to connect with people in sharing a love of words and language in response to the natural world.

This is the first of a series of twelve online workshops via email, as I map the course of the year, connecting with the process and craft of writing, along with the material and content of what is explored. Responses to these sessions are very welcomed, including sharing your own work in response to the prompts and resources I share. You can contact me via email and social media – links below.

I hope that in person workshops will be available again soon, and I will use this email list to share news of these events too, but in the mean time I hope this is a valuable alternative, and one that is more accessible and inclusive to a wider geographical area and to those of us for whom attending things in person is more challenging and riskier right now.

There is much to reflect on with a traumatic and turbulent twelve months, a collective grief as well as individual experiences which will all be very different. For many of us, connecting with the natural world and visiting places like Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, has been an important part of life.

Free writing – warm up

I invite you to think back to a particular event, time, place or experience where you encountered the natural world, in a surprising or unexpected way and write about it. This could be for a few minutes or thirty, see where it takes you, but aim for just three. Try to keep writing, don’t go back to edit at this stage, don’t take your pen off the page or your fingers off the keyboard, try to be as unselfconscious as you can and allow the words to form with as little interruption from your brain as possible.

If you can't think of a particular incident, then write what you see from your chair or out of the window – is there a bird feeder, moss on the roof opposite, a spider in the corner of the room?

To see the full January enewsletter from Louise, and to subscribe, follow this link  

If you would like to find out more about creative writing at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, email Louise [email protected]

Join Louise for a free Creative Nature Writing webinar on 8th February - for which you need to register 

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