I am one of those writers who thrive in a workshop siituation. Even if I have been blocked for months, if I go along to a writing workshop and am given a subject, I am away. I find being in a workshop situation totally inspirational and I think I would have to say that some of my best work has been written then. These days I don't go to many structured workshops but I do still get together with friends to write.
The last formal workshop I attended was a Poetry Business monthly event in Sheffield. In the morning you are continually being fed subjects to write about and in the afternoon you get to share work you have brought with you with a smaller group of writers. People of all abilities attend from all over the country.
First Line Exercises
The writer is given a first line and from there they have to start writing and keep writing without stopping or editing for twenty minutes: It is amazing what comes out!
Here is an example of a first line that is in my novel in progress and that I shared with the other writers at a workshop in Loutro, Crete.
The Man stood naked at the door and ....
I first came across first line exercises when working with the poet and writer, Henry Shukman at a workshop in Loutro, Crete
Here are some more First Lines - it's a great way to get unblocked.
I am Just on the train to London and …
In the box I found a …
I had never seen the black and white photo before but….
The First Line Exercise Taken a Stage Further,
Using as a first line – a risk I would like to take is to ....
Write for ten minutes without stopping or editing.
While writing think about such things as how you think it would make you feel? How it would change your life. Why haven’t you done it before?
When you have written for ten minutes, read what you have written and then write a Haiku on what you have written - a poem of 3 lines 5 – 7 – 5 syllables
A hot air balloon 5
may fall from the sky but I 7
shall see as God does 5