This week I come to the end of a nine-week writing course, which has involved directly reading and understanding a particular author, writing pieces based on their work and your reaction to it, and finally listening to the author talk about their craft. It’s a very potent combination of stimulus and education, and for me, it’s been one of the hardest things I have ever done as a creative. None of this has to do with the content, far from it. Most of the issues have been as a result of what the environment stimulated within me.

I did not come to sessions to be triggered by prompts, but it happened right off the bat. This has been a problem in previous online workshop interactions too, and remains one of the reasons why in-person residential or events can be fraught with anxiety for me. In the end, however, I did not do what has previously been the case and walk away. I leant into everything, as much as was possible. It’s a measure of how I have progressed mentally in the last year that this has resulted in some of the best work I’ve ever produced.

However, for the first time, it isn’t just the words that have altered. My relationship with the people I was learning with has been quite different from previous instances. A lot of this has to do with the personalities, but mostly it is the willingness to share honestly that has really made the difference. The original group of ‘students’ dropped quite quickly, too, which was a surprise to me. If I am paying for a course, why would I abandon it without it having been finished? This makes no sense to me. Regardless of detail, I have met some new mutuals on this journey and am VERY happy about it.

This has been a really significant period of my writing life, and the effects will be felt for quite some time to come.

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