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Photo by Muhammad Haikal Sjukri on Unsplash

…where you’ll discover the time, confidence, support, and ideas you need to write remarkable, personally open content

· Six guided weekly online sessions, to make writing a habit

· Only six places available, for maximum idea-sharing, support, and interaction

· You’ll tell us about and work on your chosen writing project every week, using each session to help you through any blocks, and receive specific guidance

· You’ll join a private Facebook group for extra support and to test ideas

· You’ll finish the course with the skills, confidence, support, and ideas you need to keep on writing

When: 10th February 2021, for six consecutive Wednesdays. We’ll finish on 17th March. …


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Kim Davies at Unsplash.com

Did you have your ‘big creative idea’ in 2020?

If, like me, you didn’t, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d failed in some cataclysmic manner. Particularly when the most popular social-media instructions for Lockdown 1.0 were for us all to “pause and reflect,” and to “start something new”.

Apparently, a lot of us took the hint, with “55% per cent of people now more creative with their time than they were before lockdown…”

But what if you struggled?

What if you weren’t gifted a glittering wodge of spare time by the coronavirus, or your mind was so focused on the essential acts of staying alive and keeping the roof over your head, that it forgot to do any reflecting or creating at all? …


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Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

“I’m sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but I thought you’d want to know (although you might already) that Clara* tragically died yesterday. I understand it may be Covid related.”

The message popped up unassumingly in my Facebook Messenger yesterday. It was from someone I used to work with, about someone else we both used to work with… someone who, in my case, had also become a friend.

It was a fun, giggly sort of friendship, formed on the basis of the cream teas we’d cobble together in the office on Friday afternoons, the highbrow plays and art exhibitions she dragged me along to after work, and the cocktails we sank together in the years that followed both of us exchanging that particular office for different, yet strangely similar, ones. …


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Jean Wimmerlin at Unsplash.com

Should you always argue a point, or just keep your mouth shut?

I can count the number of online arguments I’ve had on the fingers of one hand.

One happened in 2011, just after the singer Amy Winehouse died. An old schoolfriend posted on social media about how terrible it was that the world was mourning Amy, even though as a famous abuser of drugs and alcohol, she’d effectively brought her death on herself.

He then shared a long list of names, explaining that they were soldiers who had died fighting for their country… but their names weren’t gracing the newspaper headlines like Amy’s.

“JUST YOU THINK ABOUT THAT BEFORE YOU CANONISE ALL THOSE FUCKING WORTHLESS ‘CELEBRITIES’” was his parting demand. …


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Giorgio Trovato at Unsplash.com

Where do you hide, when your advancing age is written all over your face?

Recently, a man-child came to my house to fix the boiler.

(Don’t all the best stories begin with lines like that?)

As he waited around for some unknown technical part to fill up with water, I made him a cuppa, and we got chatting about all this business with Covid-19.

“Young people don’t care so much about getting infected,” he said, in between slurps of tea. “It’s just like coming down with a cold, innit?”

“My sister thinks of it like that, too,” I said. “She’s twenty-one.”

At this, his previously unlined face crumpled in confusion. “You’ve got a twenty-one-year-old sister?” he said.


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Kristopher Roller at Unsplash.com

Are you waiting for that bolt of creative lightning?

“Inspiration isn’t about output. Output is what you get when you work at unloading a ship or digging a ditch. Working in a cement factory or whaling centre gives one output. Constructing bridges gives one output. Being a poet isn’t about output.” (Miss Iceland, Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir)

Do you agree with that quote?

The words are spoken by a character in the novel I’m reading at the moment. He’s wracked with daily, handwringing guilt over the words he isn’t writing, because he doesn’t feel inspired enough.

Meanwhile, his girlfriend — the novel’s eponymous heroine — writes daily. …


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Ana Flavia at Unsplash.com

When keeping thoughts to yourself is as unfashionable as a nylon shell suit.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about 2020 so far (apart from the obvious), it’s that I’m constantly being preached to by an endless parade of brands-on-a-mission.

That mission isn’t simple promotion of their wares, but lofty dreams of a better world. Coke refuses to be “a stranger in (my) own living room”, while McCain extols the virtues of family life. The focus is on harmony and inclusion, rather than fizzy drinks and chips.

It’s not just TV. You can’t move for earnest brand messaging on social media, either. Idly checking your Twitter feed means coming up against the likes of Burger King’s recent handwringing plea for us to buy from McDonalds too, or Nike’s support for Black Lives Matter (“for once, don’t do it”). …


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Taylor Smith at Unsplash.com

What kind of middle-aged woman am I going to be?

It started innocently enough.

I was clearing out my wardrobe, making room for my boyfriend to hang his clothes up.

(The story goes like this: after three months together, the coronavirus lockdown hit. We talked about whether to stay apart for a while, or throw everything at our relationship and see what stuck, and we chose the latter option. Luckily, what stuck was love…

…and crucially, the ability to tolerate each-other in a relatively small space we weren’t able to leave.)

I’m forty-three, so this wasn’t my first “living with someone else” rodeo. …


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Fuu J at Unsplash.com

If I’d listened to the people who told me not to set up as a freelance writer, then… well, I wouldn’t have set up as a freelance writer.

Instead, I’d probably have languished behind my HR Manager’s desk for the rest of my working life, my soul quietly withering away.

When you’re being taught how to write a novel, you’re told that your lead character should be fighting a threat of death. That could be actual, physical death, professional death, or psychological death… as in, they will die inside if the story doesn’t change.

Every day, I felt like the lead character in a dull, meandering novel that never seemed to end. It’s the main reason why I decided to ditch my HR career and become a freelance writer. I was staging my own fight against psychological death. …


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Siora Photography at Unsplash.com

“You’re a birthday card Nazi,” spluttered my ex-partner.

“I’m not! I just don’t see the point in sending late ones, that’s all,” I protested, as I ripped a glitter-flecked card into pieces, then tossed them all into the air.

That card’s crime was arriving two days after my birthday, which automatically rendered its well-meaning wishes invalid. It had missed out on its shining moment in the sun… or rather, on my mantelpiece, where I display birthday cards for one day only.

I’m the same at Christmas. Come Boxing Day, the holly-strewn greetings and the winking decorations have vanished like melting snow. People visiting my barren home during the interscotia (otherwise known as that ‘dead’ period in between Christmas and New Year… yes, there’s a name for it) will always comment on how joyless and un-Christmassy I am. …

About

Nina Jervis

Author of Procrastinations. Southendian freelance writer and caffeine enthusiast

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