Category Archives: Creative Writing

Creative Journalling Workshop #2

In our second iteration of the Creative Journalling Workshop with graphic recording, Paula and I decided that it might be worthwhile to focus more attention on the process of writing and the purpose of using a visual element in creative writing. We thought this might help with better defining my role (i.e., staying true to the purpose of graphically recording for the sake of producing a record of the event for future reference/inspiration) for the participants. Interestingly, this second group seemed to better connect with our original vision of supplementing and facilitating inspiration visually, as well as reaching individuals through various approaches (as opposed to verbal or purely text-based prompts).

It is also interesting to me that during the session, I really enjoyed creating the poster, and I felt very relaxed with this group. The participants were complimentary and the group had a positive and vibrant energy. However, looking at my poster today with fresh eyes, I see that it is one of my worst works yet! So much blank space…Not sure exactly what I was saving all that space for! Also, a lot of the text is really small and it looks quite sloppy to me. I still like elements of it…particularly the herbs and spices from the “If I were a herb or spice, I would be…” activity. This prompt was really cool, and I loved the responses. You can see that contrary to the first workshop, I decided not to include the names. This saved me time for drawing and colouring, and it is also in keeping with my realization that general is better than too specific in this case.

One of the highlights of this session for me was the “I didn’t know I loved…” prompt. I actually got out my pad of paper for this one, as I was really inspired to jot down a few ideas of my own. I just couldn’t resist. The primary purpose of these workshops is to help participants record “starts” or initial ideas that might lead to further development or inspiration at a later time. In the spirit of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, the workshop simply gets people to put pen to paper and write. In the group setting with that gentle “push” to actually write without sensoring or judging, I had the sense that the participants appreciated the opportunity to have this time devoted only to writing. I told Paula that I might like to sign up as a participant the next time around!

Creative Journalling Workshop #1

So Paula and I decided to dive right in and try an experiment in combining her creative journalling workshop wtih elements of graphic recording. We invited members of the community who had attended Paula’s workshops previously, as well as new participants, and the response was overwhelming (well, for me anyway…Paula is probably used to receiving such a positive response to her popular workshops).

Our idea was that she would facilitate the workshop as usual – helping participants to get words on paper through a series of writing prompts, timed activities, and optional sharing of one’s work. In the meantime, I would record the highlights as I normally do during facilitated sessions. The plan was to see how graphic recording might inspire these writers visually as they worked with text, ideas, and some of their own visual prompts. In addition, we thought that having a visual record of the evening might also be a nice way to honour the participants and some of the ideas they shared at the session.

I enjoyed the evening immensely. It was interesting to record this unique experience, and as an instructor of English language learners, it was a treat to listen to English speakers articulating their creative thoughts and stories so eloquently and thoughtfully. It reminded me that having an ‘artistic community’ is something I am missing here.

Despite enjoying the experience, however, Paula and I weren’t so sure that the merging of creative journalling and graphic recording actually “worked” in the sense that we had imagined it might. For example, I wondered if the graphic recording ended up as a kind of superfluous distraction that didn’t really add anything to the workshop at all. As the writers were all quite independent and skilled at their craft, they didn’t really seem to need more than the prompts from Paula, so our idea that the poster might inspire the participants didn’t seem to come to fruition with this group.

In addition, the recording itself proved somewhat difficult, as I realized quickly after beginning with the “If I were a colour…” introductions that getting details from the writers might not be the best approach. I started to think that perhaps a more general “feel” for the session might be best, particularly with the possible goal of using the poster as future inspiration. I thought that getting too detailed might be stifling, whereas more general depictions might encourage more freedom in future brainstorming sessions.

Overall, it was a terrific experience in a number of ways – to see how the workshop runs (and get some ideas for my own creative writing!), to try something new and to work a little outside-the-box with graphic recording, and to share this experience with a group of interesting and creative people. It was a pleasure to be a part of this experiment and to brainstorm ways that we might improve it in our next session.

Note: the picture I have attached here is not quite finished, as I am trying to work with individual “quilt blocks” created by the participants in one of the writing activities. My plan is to work them into the empty squares if possible. I will post an update when this happens! As you can see, the poster displays some of the highlights of the actual writing prompts (i.e., Remembering a photograph, This is the hand that…, etc.). It also contains short excerpts from the found poetry activity that captured my imagination (“dead at foot of castle wall…”, “life is fine, fine as wine…”, etc.). It will be interesting to see how the next session emerges with an entirely different group!

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Creative Journalling Workshop June 6, 2012

Message from Paula at the Advanced Writing Centre, CNAQ:

As part of the ongoing effort to expand our writing workshops, the Advanced Writing Centre will be offering a one night workshop in creative journalling with guest graphic recorder, Jenn Wicks. Jenn and I are trying out this new format with an eye to putting together something more substantial for the fall, and it would be great to have you participate and give us your feedback. Space is limited to 12 participants, so please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to attend. (If we get more than 12, we may consider a second class.)

Workshop: Creative Journalling: Discovering the Writer Within

When: Wednesday, June 6, 5.30-8.30

Where: AWC @ College of the North Atlantic-Qatar

Creative Journalling: Discovering the Writer Within

Keeping a journal is a great way to relax, reflect, and discover your creative self. Now, you can take your journal to a whole new level! Through activities that stimulate your thinking and help release your creative side, this workshop can (re)ignite your joy of writing.  A series of writing exercises and discussion will help get you started!

As an exciting new addition to this upcoming workshop, we have invited graphic recorder Jenn Wicks. Graphic recording is a method of representing the contributions of participants in visually-appealing and creative ways. The recorder represents ideas on a large poster where all participants can see their words come to life. This process can generate opportunities for creative writing as ideas are linked and organized by the recorder, and participants will hopefully be inspired as their ideas become part of a “bigger picture”. At the end of the session, we will have an electronic document displaying the group contributions, which we will share with all participants. Jenn will also speak briefly about the skill of graphic recording as a potential tool in the creative process.

New and experienced journal writers welcome!

Please feel free to pass this notice on to others who may be interested.