Archive for the ‘Pep Talks’ Category:

The End…

Written on February 28th, 2019 by adminno shouts

As we bring the WoPo poem a day writing challenge to a close this year, the team here hope that you have found the writing prompts and suggestions helpful. The archive is always here if you need a little help through out the rest of the year.

So what do you do with the poems now?

Well… now the work begins – it is editing time!

Take a look over what you had e written, are you going to keep it all or only a fraction – do not throw anything away initially but file it else where for a while. Sometimes poems become something only when we forget their origins.

Maybe join a critic group to get your work into a place where you can start seeking publication or popping them out on your social media etc…

What ever the destination for your poems – be proud of yourselves for having come through this journey of poetic madness with us here at WoPo.

And don’t forget there are many more poem a day writing challenges and celebrations out there from the local to the national to the global – we will be back with a few more guest poets in April to inspire those taking part in NaPoWriMo, and there might be something special for International Poetry Day in March :)

The Last Leg

Written on February 21st, 2019 by adminno shouts

There is one week left of the WoPo poem a day writing challenge! Do not despair if you are no where near your target of a poem a day – for now is the time for one last push!

Get writing, be serious about the writing, feel the looming dead line and WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

If you have already completed the challenge then do not give up – either continue to write or in the writing time that you have been using begin the editing process, smoothing and honing those poems to perfection.

You can see the finish line now – so don’t give up and push onwards to victory!

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Half Way Through

Written on February 15th, 2019 by adminno shouts

It’s the half way point of the month, this can be where life starts to get in the way and the novelty of the challenge starts to wear off. So how do you keep momentum going?

There are several ways that people have found useful but not everything works for everybody.

1) Set your own goals… so if you have already completed the challenge and are wondering where to go next set yourself the goal of completing the same within a week (so half the time).

2) If you have been struggling and know that there there is just no way you can completed it and are suffering from the “why bothers” – you can sit back and look at what has and hasn’t worked for you, which exercises were good and which weren’t. Stream line the process so that you are not trying to complete everything and achieving nothing.

3) You are struggling to bring any poem to completion but have done tones of writing – this is fine, this just means you are going to have a fun time editing after the writing frenzy has passed but you might want to mark yourself a time period for editing in the calendar so that the work doesn’t just sit there almost complete for the rest of your life.

4) What’s the point? Some people struggle with setting their own goals and writing for themselves so why not make it for other people. The easiest way to do this is to decide the poems are going to be submitted to magazines or entered into competitions. Publishers websites will normally have the current sort of stuff they are looking for on their website somewhere.

5) View this month as the warm up for Nation Poetry Writing Month in April rather than the real thing. This is the proactive to get you up to speed.

Now get back to the writing!

Week 1 is Done!

Written on February 7th, 2019 by adminno shouts

It is Day 7 of the World Poetry writing challenge and we have been seeing some lovely poems shared on a variety of social media. Some people are racing ahead and that is great but don’t slack off – keep going and see how many you can write this month! Others have barely begun or have spent a lot of time on one poem and that to is fine – that is one more poem than you would have written other wise.

If you wish to share for feed back and group discussion there is a WoPo Facebook group and we have been popping out all the archive exercises on the Facebook Page and twitter, plus added lots of exciting images to the Pinterest Board!

So week one and EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! (And if it’s not don’t panic there is still time!)

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Day One – A Beginning

Written on February 1st, 2019 by adminno shouts

So it is time to get writing and creative – so sharpen pencils, crack open the new ink, power up or awaken those devices and write!

The idea is that from now until the end of the month you set a side some time to write… each and everyday. Sometimes this isn’t so easy and that is where strategy comes in – write smart! Record voice memos on your phone, jot things down in pocket note books and take some sort of device/pad with you to do so – you’ll be amazed at what can happen during a coffee break at work, or whilst stuck at the train platform.

This doesn’t mean you have to write all ideas down as soon as they strike, some people like to mull ideas and let them merge and split and take shape in their mind before ever setting them down in words. If you are such a person, or even if you are not and you just didn’t get a chance during the day, then the bedtime recap could be the thing! Take the notepad/phone etc. to bed with you (warning insomniacs this might not be brilliant for your sleep patterns but is often a very creative time!).

Now on this first day make sure you have your writing supplies set and that you peruse the various writing exercises in the archive, more will be appearing during the month but it’s always nice to have a rummage through some of the old stuff!

Well what are you waiting for? Go get writing!

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Week One Done!

Written on February 7th, 2018 by adminno shouts

The first week of our poem a day writing challenge is over! That it you survived it and better yet live to poem the tale! So how did you find it? Easy? Hard? Impossible?

However productive you have been the important thing is to keep going – if you have fallen behind then this is your chance to catch up and if you are streaking ahead – then lets break some records and push new boundaries!

And remember there are plenty of writing exercises both shiny new ones and in the archive, plus inspirational pieces by our guest bloggers.

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Poetry Writing Time 2018!

Written on February 1st, 2018 by adminno shouts

It’s that time of year again when poetry madness takes over the brain! That’s right it’s WoPo Time and that means it’s Write Time!

But where to begin? January is often full of left over Christmas and manic exercise binges and the drudgery of trying to catch up with all the work that slipped during the festive period – however it is no longer January, it is February and that means it’s time to switch on the creative brain.

What better way to do this than to take up a writing challenge?

A poetry writing challenge – such as the one we run here at WoPo every February. The rules are simple – try and write or compose or create something poetic each and every day for February. They can be rhyming, free verse, picture forms and songs, they can be a specific form such as sonnet or limerick or a study of form, serious, funny, political…. and so on.

Some people find a theme and roll with that other have to fish around each day to find some new inspiration and this is all find and good and how it should be! Creativity is a muscle – the more you use it the easier it gets so if you are a beginner or have not written anything for a while do not worry overly if you are off to a slow start, you will get there and actually we all have our own preferred methods of working you might just not have found yours yet! And that is part of what WoPo is about – it is about giving you tools to explore the means to write and create yourself, don’t expect to get something amazing straight away or every time just enjoy finding new ways to get that initial spark going.

To help with this there will be exercises and inspiring ideas going up on this blog through out February, along with guest poets explaining why their writing processes and what drew them to poetry.

There is a Facebook Page and Facebook Group – the group is closed so you will have to request to join but this is so that if you want you can post poems for feedback or just to share, the feedback is from the group in general though and not a critique clinic. Also follow twitter handles @TheMonsterBlogs and @Saffy, not to mention the Pinterest Board!

This means it is time to get writing so sharpen those pencils, refill the ink and top up your charge, grab a beverage of choice and get writing and remember – when in despair that February is a short month even on a leap year!

Now what are you waiting for there is an archive of exercises to get going with!

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Idea Spiral

Written on February 5th, 2017 by adminno shouts

Idea have a habit of breeding more ideas, this can be brilliant and make you really productive or it can de-rail the writing process and you simple have too many ideas and fail to take any to completion.

A way around this is write an idea spiral – draw a light spiral in pencil on a piece of paper and then starting in the middle start writing down your ideas. If there is just one then it can sit there and await for more ideas to turn up but if there are lots then keep writing them down.

Once the spiral is full surround it by four other pieces of paper and analyse the ideas. Are they all different ideas, or connected? Sometimes things seem like lots of ideas but are pretty much just the core different stanzas for the same poem. Group the ideas on one of the four sheets, list them in priority order that you would like to write them in on the other. If they are a large sequence or set then set out all the interconnections and relationships on the third piece of paper. The last piece is for anything else that might occur to you.

If you have no other ideas or current projects then now would be the time to add another four pieces of paper to the corners to make a large square. Pick one of the ideas, preferably the one you listed as top priority, and create word web, what associations does the theme or concept have?

On the second piece, write down bullet points of related concepts.

If you wish it to be a structured poem then on the third piece of paper create a structured outline to shape the finished poem to.

The fourth piece is for you to actually write the poem.

Once that poem is written you can remove the four corner pieces of paper and put fresh ones in place and do the same for the second idea.

If you have lots and lots of ideas it might be a good idea to just create the initial spirals to get the ideas off your chest or out of your brain. Then place these spirals in a folder for looking at later on after you’ve completed what ever the current writing goal is!

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Weekend Time is Rhyme Time

Written on February 4th, 2017 by adminno shouts

Weekends (or when ever your days off are) are valuable, if you are not a full time writer then weekends are often the golden time for writing. Set some solid chunks of time aside, preferable an hour or so. If you have weekend commitments such as kids or clubs then think carefully about exactly where and how the writing will fit in.

It maybe that you get up at your normal week/work day time and write whilst everybody else is having that lay in or it maybe that you have to take a note pad and pen to the gym and scribble notes whilst on the exercise bike or over a lazy coffee whilst the kids are in what ever sports club they are attending.

What ever you time table make sure you have scheduled time to write.

If you happen to be lucky and have lots and lots of writing time then make the weekend different!

If you write free verse then take weekends as time to work on rhyme, start by reading some rhyming poetry, get the rhythms and different rhymes schemes hooked in your brain.

What ever you are doing… WRITE WRITE WRITE!!!!

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The Quiet Compere

Written on November 14th, 2015 by adminone shout

I am Sarah L Dixon, also known as The Quiet Compere.

Why did I make Cheltenham the Finale of the tour?

Four years ago I knew very little about Cheltenham and had never been. Now, even though I have mainly visited in November (for reasons made clear below) I have an image of very white-washed walls and Greek blue sky. It feels like being near the sea to me, even though I am assured, with my sketchy geography, it is about as far away as you can be from the sea when in the UK!

Ok. So four years ago I was coming to Cheltenham for a conference about how Art and Medicine interact (more about that below). I decided I would run a poetry event there, despite knowing no-one in the area and started making friends there through social media. I booked a venue and ten poets and this was the first event I ran outside Manchester (I had no idea this event would be the beginning of a path that led me to 2 12 date tours in 2014 and 2015).

This first event away from home did not come without its challenges. The venue I had booked closed down about three weeks before the date. Determined that this would only be a hurdle and not flatten it I asked around and Adam Horowitz (one of the performers) suggested a space called Meantime Art Space and I contacted Sarah and she was a superstar, spoke with the person whose art was displayed, sorted out some beers for the night and even took me for noodles when I arrived making my first impression on both Cheltenham and my first impression of a noodle bar positive.

I had a buzz that lasted days when the night went well, poets turned up, I met poets I had only seen online and all stuck to time limits and were friendly. Each year I have run an event the night before Medicine Unboxed. I am still searching for the perfect venue. The second year it was in the Frog and Fiddle’s Barn, which I am sure is delightful in summer months. It was a bare brick wall space with high ceilings, a stage and PA system. On a cold November night it felt like being in a barn. Last year I ran a medical-themed poetry night at The Strand. We had a downstairs room and thankfully a mic (as the party in the bar was particularly rowdy and we were divided only by a curtain). This year we have booked the upstairs space at The Strand as I tread my Cheltenham venues learning curve.

Cheltenham was just the beginning

After the Cheltenham gig I decided to takeover Poetry by Heart in Leeds for a month with six poets I knew from workshops, Arvon courses, events and Facebook. The gig was cracking. When my job in the NHS was disappeared and I started doing spreadsheets for my neighbour’s company from home between school runs I saw an opportunity. I was fuelled by an Apples an Snakes masterclass presented by Tony Walsh about “How to promote yourself, your poetry, your events” that I has attended two weeks before the job went awry.

I had disregarded the section about applying for funding at the time. I am not funny. I am not perfomancey. Why would anyone fund my tour? But then, the tour didn’t have to be about me. What did I do at every event I ran. I quietly planned, promoted and hosted these events with attention to detail that was noted and appreciated by performers and venues. Could I take the ten poets x ten minutes format on tour?

I was aware this format had been employed in the North East at Take Ten, but only after it had evolved at my nights as a format that filled a gap in the circuit. Many established nights had 2-4 minute open mic and 15-30 minute guest spots, but not many gave poets the opportunity for something in between. I know I was terrified the first time I had to fill a guest spot with poems (when before all I had 2-3 minutes).

So the format was born and funding application bids submitted

The Quiet Compere Tour has been Arts Council funded and has so far been to 23 cities, putting on shows with 10 local poets reading for 10 minutes each. I like to introduce poets only by name rather than huge bibliography. Let the poems do the talking. We have a mix of established and less well known performers, and it’s the latter that often steal the show!

The Finale of 2015 tour – Friday 20th November 2015 7pm doors. 7:30pm start

Quiet Compere 2015 Cheltenham

Finale Thoughts

Events in Birmingham, Worcester and Oxford have all been hugely successful and I would be delighted to see some of the performers and friends from those areas in the audience.

Look out for Kickstarter to part fund 2016 tour very soon

Quiet Compere Advice:

Play. Enjoy. Try different styles. Find other poets you trust. Get feedback. Be honest. Pursue butterflies. Stretch yourself. Try not to over-edit.

How I fell in love with Cheltenham

I worked in NHS admin for 17 years and when I returned from Maternity Leave received a link to a conference called Medicine Unboxed. This is a conference master-minded (he is director and curator) by Samir Guglani, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Gloucester Hospital. The first year I attended Sam engaged in every debate on the same level as the expert panels, or even more strikingly in one-to-ones. I have now attended the past three years (themes Belief, Voice and Frontiers) This year’s theme is Mortality (and as spent over half of NHS life as a Histopathology and/or Post Mortem secretary) this is of particular interest to me. Samir Guglani was a performer at the Oxford event in May and I met Kiran Millwood Hargrave, who is in the Cheltenham line-up through Medicine Unboxed and Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

Medicine Unboxed ticket link here

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