After attending my first Writing Mums Workshop in January, and trying to leave my self-criticism at home (a hard thing for a mum to do), I couldn’t wait for February’s workshop with Linda Strachan. Feeling enthused after tackling the exercise Linda had set us earlier in the month, writing a short piece based on one of four quotes, I wondered what this month’s workshop would bring, and hoping that my contribution was up to scratch.
Starting off with the welcome cups of tea/coffee plus biscuits (thanks Hannah!), it was introductions again, before Linda set us reading out our pieces to the group. I felt particularly anxious about reading out my piece, as I hadn’t read it out aloud before, and hadn’t let anyone else read it before sending it off –something which Linda recommended we all do with our work, as it can highlight areas of the text which need moved, altered or omitted altogether.
I had chosen a quotation from Omar Khayyam: ‘Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life’ as I felt, like many of us had, that I could base my writing on something from my own life experience, such as it is. Nervously I read my piece, which was based around the birth of my first child. Focusing my attention on reading my words, I was astonished (yet also kind of thrilled) to look up at the end to find a number of the group wiping tears from their eyes! Most of my writing these days is fact-based and work-related, so it was truly inspiring to find that your words can have the power to create such emotion in others. The constructive criticism by Linda, and the other mums, afterwards gave suggestions to improve on the writing, and made me want to get back to the pen and paper (or computer screen and keyboard) to give it another bash, which I guess is what these workshops are all about.
It was wonderful to hear the other stories and poems read out, with every single one generating a variety of emotions within the group –shock at the twist in one tale, wonder at the vivid imagery in another, laughter at the wee jokes included in the dialogue, and yes, more tears at the powerful stories of the trials and tribulations of life.
Many tears were shed during this workshop, but there was also an overwhelming sense of pride in what we had all created, and how this demonstrated the power of the written word, along with the many hidden talents we mothers have within us. How glorious it is that we now have a place to nurture this talent and have the space and time to find it within us. Never has an hour and a half gone so quickly –apart from other Writing Mums workshops of course