Do I need to be a writer?
No. Each person finds their own particular style of expressing themselves. What emerges is each individual’s own language, own voice. It is amazing to see how people’s writing style evolves over the year as they gain confidence.
There is no technical critique of people’s writing, but the course does include tips and hints on how to help the words flow. As the course develops and you gain confidence, feedback includes more on what could be included or on writing style.
My life is ordinary. What happens if I don’t have any interesting stories to tell?
I haven’t yet found someone with a boring life. What is truly amazing is how different people’s lives are. There are the universal themes, yes, but how they unfold is so individual.
Each person’s life is so special and different. By telling your stories you get a real appreciation of this.
Do I need to produce anything at the end of the course?
This is up to the individual. By the end of the course you will have many of your stories recorded either in long hand or on the computer. Some people will automatically create a document as they go, adding photos, drawings etc.
Other people do this at the end of the course and produce beautiful documents. Some have produced manuscripts to send to publishers, but others are just happy to have collected their stories and leave them in their folder.
What happens if I hit difficult times/stories that I feel reticent about sharing?
I have found that everyone has challenging stories that are painful to bring to the surface. If a story is particularly challenging I encourage people to approach the material from different perspectives so they get it from different angles.
I also encourage people to tell me in advance if they are hitting hard spots in their life so that I can ensure the necessary support is there for them to be able to write these stories. Sometimes it is good to go and get some extra support .
There is no coercion to write or tell, but I find that as the course progresses participants find they are able to write the stories they need to write.
Often people find the process of writing and having their stories listened to allows resolution in areas of their life they have previously had difficulty in accepting.
A high level of trust is established during the course. People are asked not to analyse or ‘therapise’ after a story. After someone has read their story we thank them and offer encouragement through positive feedback.
How is privacy handled?
Confidentiality is important. People are asked, and reminded during the year, to respect people’s stories. To hold the stories as confidential, and to not talk about them in a way that may identify the writer.
What will my contact be with other people doing the email course?
There will be a telephone conference call of about an hour plus every three weeks, ‘allowing’ you to read your stories and listen to others.
How much time weekly can I anticipate to spend on the course?
This varies a lot from person to person. For the email course it would be good to think of a minimum of two hours per week and for the contact course there is the two half hours of class plus home writing assignments of 30-45 minutes.
The most important thing is to keep some writing happening each week otherwise the motivation can dwindle.