Rochester Literature Festival – Nature Writing Course

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On Sunday 11th October there will be another chance to take part in a writing workshop with me. I am running a 2 hour nature writing course at Sun Pier House in Chatham, Kent ME4 4HF between 10.00am – 12.00pm at part of the Rochester Literature Festival.

We will be taking a stroll to get some inspiration for our writing from the riverside setting and learning more about the essential elements of good writing.

Tickets cost £5. To book a place please visit this link

https://www.eventjoy.com/e/nature-girl-3724917

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Nature Writing Course

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How could you not feel inspired to write by a view like this?

If you would like to improve your skills then come along to one of the nature writing courses I am running as part of the Up on the Downs festival which is taking place  between the 25th July and the 9th August.

On Monday 27th July we will be at the beautiful coastal reserve of Samphire Hoe, near Dover in Kent. We will be taking a walk across one of the newest bits of England, enjoying the beautiful flowers and gaining inspiration from the seascapes.

Then on Sunday 2nd August there is another chance to take part when we will be walking from Lydden Village Hall through woodland and across chalk downland.

Both courses start at 10am and finish around 4.00pm. Please bring water, lunch and writing materials.

The courses are free and are ideal for anyone who would like to improve their nature writing whether you write for your own pleasure, for a blog or for publication. There will be no obligation to read out your work.

To book a place call 01304 241806

Wandering Words

Remains of Elmley Village MLP

Remains of Elmley Village MLP

Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to be commissioned by the Wandering Words project to write about the beautiful Elmley Marshes Nature Reserve. The website is now up and running and can be visited at;

http://wanderingwords.org.uk/

Along with my own thoughts on Elmley there are contributions from other Kent writers who have been exploring everywhere from the remote areas of the Hoo Peninsula to Sheerness High Street.

Wandering Words is a writing project and online platform that is putting the written word on the map in Swale & Medway.

By commissioning new writing about the landscape, architecture, communities and heritage of the area they hope to inspire others to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and share their work too.

You too can get involved, the project is looking for a wide variety of contributions, blogs, poetry, journalism, graphic novels – all are welcome.

Wandering Words is developed, managed and funded by Ideas Test, working in partnership with Rochester Literature Festival.

Later in the year I will be running a short nature writing workshop as part of the Rochester Literature Festival. Visit the Wandering Words website for more details on how to book.

Nature Writing Courses

Anthony Albright

Anthony Albright

Would you like to try your hand at nature writing? It’s the new rock n roll, so I’m told and with authors such as Robert Macfarlane and Heather Macdonald topping best seller lists then it’s popularity will continue to grow.

If however your ambitions do not lean to these heady heights but you would just like to write about the nature in your garden and learn new ways of getting beyond the cliché’s and really express your true thoughts and feelings about the world around you, then taking part in a nature writing course should still be a fulfilling experience.

This year I am running a serious of nature writing courses as part of the Rochester Literature Festival and Up On the Down Big Summer Festival. The courses range from 2 hours to a full day and hopefully should be enjoyable and a positive experience.

No one is made to read their work out aloud on my courses. Reading your work out aloud is, at some point, a fear you should tackle but I would not want anyone to sit in agony through a whole workshop dreading their moment in the spotlight.

If you would like to find out more about these courses and how to book a place please visit the forthcoming events page or follow this link

https://naturegirlblogdotcom.wordpress.com/upcoming-events/

To write and be read

writing students, hopefully not having their hopes crushed.

writing students, hopefully not having their hopes crushed.

School has a lot to answer for. How many people have had their abilities mocked or their hopes crushed by a teacher with more ignorance than knowledge and more cruelty than compassion. I know there are lots of good and worthy teachers out there but I come across too many people still suffering from the ravages of bad schooling.

One of these came up to me during the writing class I was teaching at the weekend. She wanted to write, she had a great idea for a story but she found, when she sat down, she couldn’t do it. All those voices from her childhood crept into her head telling her that her spelling was appalling, her grammar poor, she had no talent. What could she do?

I sympathised, I too had been marked down in English classes because my characters spoke in the accent of the people around me. This my teacher told me was incorrect. My characters had bad grammar. Now I think, ‘ignorant bleeder. What did she know about writing? Where would Irvine Welsh be if his characters had all spoken the Queens English?’

Another teacher, later on, at university, told me that I would never make a journalist as I ‘had no grasp of the English Language.’ Yet, here I am writing for the BBC.

Of course, over the years I have worked very hard to improve my spelling and grammar and punctuation. Those teachers would undoubtedly be proud of me, but their lack of ability to see that there were things of quality in my writing was their own failing.

What advice did I give to my own student. I told her to sit down and very consciously think of all those negative voices, picture those people who had told her that she couldn’t write and then think ‘balls to them. Those people tried to limit me but I am about to prove them wrong.’ and then write and then, beyond writing, let other people see your work.

This brings me to my second writer of the week, my assistant who also writes, whose writing sounds really interesting, but who never shows his work to anyone. He says this is not why he writes, but somehow it sits uneasily with me and I can’t put my finger on why.  I don’t write for fame and I certainly don’t write for money but I do write to be read. I want to be read and enjoyed and I want to know if my writing is any good or not so I put it out there, into the world to be judged. For writing not to be read somehow feels wrong, it feels like hiding something in the darkness which should have light.

But maybe some of us were just crushed too much by those voices from our youth, our thoughts, our words are all wrong in some way and we have learnt to keep them in the darkness.

Teachers, parents, authority figures have a lot to answer for and I hope I can do better with my own students.

Another chance to take part in a nature writing workshop

participants taking part in a workshop in October

participants taking part in a workshop in October

The second of my two nature writing workshops for the Wild Sites on your doorstep project will take place on Saturday 12th April from 10am – 1.00pm leaving from the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory in Sandwich, Kent.

The  Wild Sites on your doorstep project is all about enjoying the wild sites close to where you live and using photography, art and writing to explore your responses to them.

During the nature writing workshop we will take a walk through the beautiful and atmospheric landscape of the dunes and coast around Sandwich and learn the principles of writing vivid prose about the natural world. For more information visit www.wildsites.org

Thanks to all the writers

Thanks to everyone who came along on the nature writing workshop, it was great to have so many people and such beautiful weather. I am really looking forward to reading everyone’s work. I think my favourite moment was meeting Susan who was severely deaf but could hear the nightingale song I played as a listening exercise. It was lovely to hear about the memory it evoked of her mother. I should really thank the nightingale too. For those of you who have never heard a nightingale sing then please listen to this clip.