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Workshops – love them or hate them


Writers hard at work

Workshops – love them or hate them?

My most recent workshop was a day-long  sensory workshop I ran from my house.  I obtained permissions to visit two places usually closed to the public and organised on site exercises at Clonabreany/Bobsville graveyard, St Kevin’s Well, Clonabreaney House, Ardglassan, Jim McDonnell monument in Crossakiel and St Shiria (Chiara), a deconsecrated church ruin and graveyard. It rained the entire day so we ended up driving to rather than walking to a couple of places. 

One of the writers posted photographs of the day on her blog. You can see them from this link:

Clonabreaney House
On top of the tunnel

I love workshops. I attend several creative writing workshops each year to expand my knowledge of editing, structure, writing a synopsis or query letter. I also facilitate several each  year – memoir and creative writing. 

Why I Love Them 

I am a loner and enjoy my own company. I write in isolation too and often joining a group of other like-minded people, comparing ideas, working exercises, offering and receiving feedback can be a joy. 

Most of the writers I know are women with the responsibilities of job, children, housekeeping, or elderly relatives. They struggle to find time to write and squeeze in the acitivity when they can. Five minutes in the car while waiting for school to finish for the day; another five minutes sitting in a hospital waiting room; five minutes before the household wakes demanging breakfast.

Giving themselves permission to attend a two-hour, or a day long workshop, is a luxury and often calls for manoeuvres to compete with an army exercise.  But once they manage the time, the workshop is dedicated to them and their creativity. It also puts them in touch with writers who share similar difficulties and with whom they can interact about the writing process. 

Despite the buckets of rain, the workshop was a success. Each writer participated fully in the exercises and produced pieces of writing.  They created ‘new’ colours e.g. tractor red, cobweb white. They wandered about taking notes and photographs as back up. 

I expect to read the many pieces they write and remember that this workshop worked. 

Well done to the ladies who participated and I’m looking forward to the next one. 


Published inWriting


  1. I agree, Lynda, workshops are wonderful. I wish I’d been in Ireland to sign up for this one, it sounds and looks interesting. I love the boxing hares over that tunnel entrance.

    I’ve managed to get to two writing workshops so far this year, and it was lovely to be led down fresh lanes of inspiration. I came away with at least three pieces of writing that I want to develop, and met lots of interesting new people. As you say, it’s so lovely to enter an entirely writing focused place with like-minded travellers.

    • Lynda Kirby Lynda Kirby

      I look forward to reading those developed stories when they’re published. I’m entering a contest and need to write lyrics. Struggling but I’ll do it, even if they’re poor.

      • Lyrics within a story, or a competition that calls only for lyrics? I hope you’re happier with them now. I don’t seem to remember you having any problem with poems at John Moore’s…

        • Lynda Kirby Lynda Kirby

          On the site (300 words), the brief was ‘A soldier: Las Vegas: Song Lyrics’. It was left to the writer to interpret the brief. If it didn’t grab you, you can hit the generator to receive another three options which may or may not include one or more of the original.
          Give it a go. It’s an interesting one.

          • Cath Cath

            Another interesting link – thanks, Lynda 🙂

  2. I had a wonderful day with Lynda Kirby and Others. Despite the heavy rain we skipped nothing.
    The warmth of the assembled writers and a great deal,of love from,Tilly, gave me great inspiration. I would love to re-trace my steps in Clobabreaney Estate but, i understand this may not be possible.
    I believe that I can speak for the Other writers and say we had a fabulous day and, thank yu Lynda.
    Please say you are planning another one, soon.

    • Lynda Kirby Lynda Kirby

      I’ll do my best, Margaret. But how soon is soon? Thanks for the kind words.

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