Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions

Recordings 2022

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Please see below for my 2022 Sunday Session Recordings. If you would like to purchase a recording from 2023 then please see here.

A special end of year writing session on New Year’s Eve: 31st December

Since stopping drinking in 2017 I’ve not known what to do with myself on New Year’s Eve. This year I am stepping up to the plate and doing what I really want, which is hosting a special end of year writing session from 7 – 10pm. We’ll do a few exercises, have a bit of self-inventory and think about how writing is a crucial allay in self-exploration. We’ll say goodbye to this year and look ahead to the next and I think we’ll have a great time. It will be an oasis of calm and a safe space away from all the societal booze-soaked nonsense. We may be a tiny group and it could well just be me and the cats, but I’m excited about it and it feels like a beacon of joy at the end of the festive season.

Seasonal Writing – and rest and regeneration: 4th December

I thought December would be a good time to think about how to use the seasons in our work. And, as the end of the year approaches, I like to take advantage of the finisher energy that December can offer and to use it as an audit point so we’ll talk about that, and then the need for rest as well as for activity.

The Joy and Pain of Editing: 6th November

Yes, editing is both painful and joyous and in this session I will share the strategies that help me move more quickly through the pain and into the joy. I’m also aiming to demystify it as I often find people worry that they don’t feel they understand what editing is and how it differs from writing. So we’ll explore all that and should leave this with more clarity about what editing is and how to approach it. Obviously this will be a useful session if you have something to edit, but I think it is always worth having a grasp of what lies ahead, so also good at any stage of the process.

Dialogue: 9th October

A good nuts and bolts session, this, and you will never again worry what dialogue is for, or how to lay it out on the page. More than anything in else in writing, I think there are some concrete rules when it comes to dialogue so I’ll be sharing all my dos and don’ts and we’ll have lots of examples and exercises.

Back to School: 11th September

Let’s jump on a bit of that delicious September energy – I have always loved a new pencil case, a new timetable – to think about where we are in our writing, what we want from it, and to recommit.

Place: 7th August

Confession time: I used to think place was something that only nature writers needed to worry about. I was wrong. Whether or not you think you are interested in place, it will serve you greatly to get a handle on it and how it underpins any story. We will think about how and why place is important to us and our writing and consider how it can work both as setting and character. We’ll look at home and away, at being in transit, at the benefits of a change of perspective and consider actual and virtual field trips and how they can enrich our writing. I thought this was a good one to do in holiday season as being out of our own space often gives a new perspective.

People: 3rd July

Characterisation is as important for memoirists as it is for novelists. In this session we will look at the people in our stories and consider how to translate them to the page. We’ll learn how to bring real people to life and we will also look at how real people can inspire the creation of fictional characters. We will also discuss what to do about difficult people, and how to discreetly step around any friends and lovers who may not want to feature in detail in a book. This will be a great session for you if you want to address any people worries, and also learn practical tips on how to create vibrant paper versions from your flesh and blood connections.

Exploring the Senses: 5th June

But how? People often ask me, but how do I bring my story to life on the page? A big part of the answer is in learning how to use our senses to create atmosphere and give the reader a feeling that they are in the room with us, rather than being told facts and information after the events. This will be a highly practical session straight from my writing tool box and I hope you will leave feeling empowered and equipped to describe how you experience the world.

Voice: 8th May 2022

The single most important thing in memoir writing – perhaps in any writing – is getting the voice right. My theory is that everything else can be fixed, but that a memoir without a strong voice will never work. What do I mean by voice? It’s the art and craft of creating presence and personality on the page. In this session we’ll explore how to find our voice and what gets in the way. There will be plenty of exercises and I hope you’ll leave with a fat notebook and an enthusiasm for your own voice and its potential power.

From Blocked to Unblocked: 10th April 2022

This session goes deep into the emotional elements of writing, which for me is where most of the action is. I like to say that my writing is 95% self-doubt management which sounds like a joke but is largely true. If you want to write but can’t, or spend more time in fear than in joy, or let your mind continually run on all the reasons why you shouldn’t write, or just have a sense of being weighed down and not understanding why, then this is for you.

Structure: 3rd April 2022

Structure can be a frightening word. I’ve worked with so many people who get stuck because they are waiting to work out a perfect structure. In this session we will explore potential memoir shape with an emphasis on finding something that provides a helpful framework for the writing, rather than restricts and limits. I hope you will leave this session with a working structure for your memoir.

Memoirland: 6th March 2022

This session explores the rules of Memoirland and how they differ from real life. This session is practical will help you if you are unable to make a start because you have too many unanswered questions, or if you keep getting bogged down in events and are struggling with questions about how to deal with real people and what to leave in and keep out. I’m going to cover here all the technical things I needed to learn to stop getting stuck. You should end the session feeling much clearer about how to manage your material.

Testimonials from previous Sunday Sessions

‘Interesting and informative and fulfilling.’

‘A wonderful session…I feel inspired to keep going and have been given some really invaluable things to think about in my own work.’

‘It was fantastic, a big help for me ; – and so enjoyable.’

‘Thanks very much again for organising such a positive, helpful session yesterday. Lots more good, realistic advice – and I love the writing exercises.’

‘Many thanks for a lovely session – I have learned a lot.’

‘It was really good, and I’m already looking forward to the next one. It’s so rare to get time to just write freely like that.’

‘Have never tried to write before or even wanted to but I’m going to have a play now…It was wonderful.’

‘A lovely afternoon thank you. Grateful for how much you give of yourself.’

‘Another brilliant session. Has reignited my purpose.’

‘Thank you so much. Encouraging, supportive and illuminating as always!’

‘Thank you so much for today – illuminating, engaging and so inspiring.’

‘Very generous of you to share the knowledge you’ve gained through sheer hard graft. This session has answered many questions I had about memoir, and some  I didn’t. So thank you – it’s been incredibly useful.’

‘Brilliant and woke my brain up on a lazy Sunday afternoon.’

‘Inspiring and supportive. Lots of great practical ideas.’

‘So much motivation, so many helpful ideas, and fun & fascinating too – looking forward to the next session already. Thank you!’

‘This has Given me the big kick that I needed!!! THANKS Cathy !!!!’

‘So helpful, honest and inspiring.’

‘This has been invaluable.’

‘Thank you. Wise & generous & straightforward as ever.’

‘This has been such an inspiration, and so very honest and practical.’

‘This has been the single most helpful workshop I have ever been on.  I can’t thank you enough.’

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