I think all the NI schools are wrapping up now so I’d just like to say a massive well done to everyone for getting through this absolute melter of a year!

I do hope your writing groups have provided some relief/entertainment/therapy/comradeship and above all inspiration through all that’s happened. My Fellowship is coming to an end and I’m so glad I set this up online because I’ve loved hearing what you’re up to via Twitter and it’s been a joy to be able to connect and share here when we’ve had to be so distant.

I wish I’d got to meet more of you in person but it just makes me so happy to think there are new writing groups and new writers out there. It’s all been about spreading the message that anyone can run a writing group and anyone can write. We all have permission to write and we all have something worth saying. And the time we devote to creativity is valuable in immeasurable ways. Thank you SO SO much for taking that message and running with it!

I will keep posting anything I find that might be of interest to young writers next year so I hope the blog will continue to be a useful resource for new and existing writing groups. Please do pass on the details to anyone you know who might like to set up a group. I guarantee there is a young person out there to whom these groups and your efforts will mean the world.

And I will of course continue to be a writing mentor with Fighting Words. Our online Write Club group has been going so well that we will probably continue an online version even after the pandemic. I love that it’s allowed kids who live too far away to attend our regular Write Club to come along. We’ll be there over the summer too so do tell your young writers about us, they’re very welcome to join.

Last week Write Club went on a virtual field trip to Fighting Words in Dublin for a Q&A with none other than Roddy Doyle! He had a wealth of tips and advice to share so I jotted down a few of my favourites to share with you:

  • Your characters don’t have to be likable, they just have to be real.
  • It’s all about the words! And we own the words already so don’t be daunted.
  • Characters stay with you when plots don’t.
  • Inspiration hits when you’re writing so be at your desk waiting for it.
  • Some days are rubbish and that’s OK.
  • Live through the doubts. Keep at it. Add words.
  • Get into good habits. Writing every day creates momentum.
  • Try out all your ideas and see where they go. It doesn’t matter if some of them don’t go anywhere.
  • Deleting stuff is satisfying. Once you’ve got loads written, deleting a big chunk can be a good day’s work.
  • Comedy and tragedy go together. Neither means anything without the possibility of the other.
  • Be kind to yourself. Do whatever makes it easier for yourself.
  • There’s a hidden artist in every headcase. It takes a lot of creativity to be a header.

As a final writing prompt, I’m going to steal an idea from St Catherine’s Armagh. Massive kudos to St Catherine’s, who started a writing group with one of the Blank Page resource packs I sent out at the beginning of my Fellowship. Working with past pupil, Amy (who sounds like an absolute gem!), for their Year 10 Poetry Anthology (they have a Year 10 Poetry Anthology! How cool!) they used their favourite books and fairy tales as prompts to create their poems. What a fab idea. And aren’t they amazing! I’ll post their Twitter pics below so you can have a read.

I’m so impressed with these. This might be a great idea to try with your own group! As their teacher says, “Blank pages no more!”

Fitting words to end on! So thank you thank you thank you for being here this year, for putting up with my memes…

…and I hope everyone has the most amazing (and well deserved) summer ever!

Thanks St Catherine’s for this lovely end to the year at The Blank Page!…




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>