You may have heard of Joe Wicks, but local writer and workshop tutor, Laura Fyfe from Stirling has spent the last four months providing exercises online too – for writers around the world.
She is now about to film and broadcast her 100th creative writing workshop on Facebook and YouTube, helping budding writers from across Europe, Asia, the US, and Canada put pen to paper.
Laura said: “I started doing the workshops, in part, because I knew people might struggle with their mental health over lockdown and writing can be incredibly cathartic.”
Each day, Laura provides a writing suggestion and tips on how to use the method she has developed and honed for years, in order to help people overcome writer’s block.
She added: “It’s all about using a prompt to help you ignite your imagination, and about writing in short, intense bursts. You can really surprise yourself!”
Providing 100 workshops online is the latest achievement in a string of successes for Laura, who won the Stirling Observer’s business award in 2012 when she first started holding writing workshops in Stirling. She has since gone on to win the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival’s writing award, publish two writing guides: Wellspring and Magpie Mind, and has been recently published in the internationally acclaimed Butcher’s Dog literary magazine. She also sits on the boards of both the Scottish Poetry Library and the Scottish Writers’ Centre.
Laura’s workshops have now reached hundreds of thousands of people across the world. As a mother (to 5-year-old Riley) and a teacher, Laura knew that making time for her writing during lockdown would be a challenge, so she decided to share her writing sessions online as a way to hold herself accountable.
She said: “I knew if I was doing these for friends, I’d write every day too. And I knew it would help keep my creativity ticking over, but what I didn’t expect was the response. People have been so kind in letting me know about how much it has helped them, by giving them something to look forward to on tough days. That’s really helped me as well.”
If you would love to write but don’t know where to start, there is a wealth of resources online now for aspiring writers to enjoy, much of it free: from workshops, to discussion groups, to spoken word events.
In Scotland, Laura particularly recommends the Scottish Poetry Library, the Scottish Book Trust, The Scottish Writers’ Centre, Sonnet Youth, and the Federation of Writers.
She added: “There’s so much support out there and it’s been wonderful to make the most of technology to find connection, especially when we can all feel so isolated. I like to find the positives. There’s a lot of good we can take from the challenges of the last few months. I know I’m grateful to have been able to help people.”