Yesterday, I spent the day with a bunch of writerly sorts, learning a bit about the tools and techniques of the trade from the powerhouse of words and laughs known as Catherine Deveny.

Photo and quote  from Catherine Deveny on Facebook

Photo and quote from Catherine Deveny on Facebook

Aside from eating delicious food, constantly, I listened to a diverse bunch of people talking about what motivates them to write or to want to write. Catherine has a real way of getting that out of even the most reluctant or shy person and I spent much of the day just quietly absorbing what other people spoke about- why they were there, where they came from, what they want to do.

My motivation for going was pretty simple: Get better. I can write okay. I do it, a lot. Sometimes I write something and think “Shit, yeah, that’s great, I’m getting way better at this stuff!” and the next week I will write something that might amuse me but I know it’s nothing brilliant. Two steps forward, and one back.  I’m okay with not being constantly brilliant- I kind of expect it. I’m not one of those people who has been writing since I was a little kid, filling notebooks with short stories and novels. I have made a few half-arsed attempts at fiction over the years and I think I might have a few more of those in me, after yesterday. Who knows.

What I can tell you is that I left feeling inspired and feeling like I have a better arsenal of things to help me write more and write better. So if you write or if you want to write, seriously, do yourself a favour and get to a Gunnas, if you can. During the class yesterday, there were periods where Catherine would tell us to just write. Write solidly for a set time. This is one of the short things I wrote yesterday- just an exercise but it gives you an idea of what you do at a Gunna’s class and no- you don’t have to share!

I am sitting here in a restaurant in Surry Hills, a place I ordinarily wouldn’t be able to afford to visit. But today? Today isn’t an ordinary day. Today is a gift. It was given to me by the one person who always believes me when I say I can do something.

Today, I get to speak to people who write. I get to write, myself, without anyone climbing my leg or needing me. Without the interruption of work breaking through my thoughts, without emergencies to deal with. It’s all about writing and how best to do it for me. There will be no facebook pauses, no stopping to youtube.

It’s a hell of a gift. One on hand it’s a joy and on the other it is daunting because there is really no time to stop, avoid and be scared. I have to remind myself that it’s an opportunity, too, to see how other people feel about writing. Right now, I’m hearing the tap-tap-tap of keys and watching pens fly across pages as I sneak a glance around the table. My mind is jumping around, not sure where to settle and what to put on this page. Do I talk about the protesters I saw this morning outside the women’s clinic and how they backed away from me? The quiche thing I just inhaled?

I want to go and talk to the lady over there that knows all about sex work. I want to go tell the food blogger that I knew who she was when she described her website. I want to go and talk to that man about atheism. I wonder what we are having for lunch. But I’m too shy and besides, we are all writing. And I need the bathroom. I can wait; I can wait for the 5 minutes to be up, until I finish writing this. The thing is, I am nervous. I have been nervous since I woke up. As a consequence, I have been drinking everything they put in front of me. The lovely wait staff have refilled my water glass a few times, I’ve downed a coffee and now I’m paying the price because I am surrounded by all this creativity and now all I can think about is my bladder.

We are all so unique. We all have different motivations and different passions and different interests and different desires but some things are great equalisers- the need to pee is one of them, I think. Surely 5 minutes is up? I think…. (and 5 minutes was up)

I Must Confess

Linking up my confessions of a nervous bladder.

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  • Kate Crawford

    Love the ‘flow of consciousness’ feel of what you wrote

  • Sounds like a great course…I love free writing at times especially to overcome writer’s block. Going to have to look into this course and see if it’s something for this year or next. 🙂

    • Well worth doing, honestly! I’ve not done much free writing lately so it was quite refreshing.

  • Hugzilla

    It’s weird. I’ve never done a single writing course in my entire life. Maybe I should start. Sounds like fun.

  • mumabulous

    I did a writing course with WEA ages ago. I loved it. To the Lego Movie – everyone in the class was awesome. And when they enjoyed my writing it was the best thing ever. Recently I was chatting with a school Mum who is a former journalist and well respected author (biatch sold film rights to her book to Russel Crowe) and she was raving about a creative writing course she just did. Never stop learning.

    • I think it’s good to keep trying and learning more and more. It’s not like there’s a limit, so why not?!

  • The course sounds fantastic and just what I need. Thanks for sharing! X

  • That’s fantastic. I have to admit that I have never thought of going to a writing course because I have never thought of myself as a ‘writer’. Like you mentioned though, a reason enough to do it is that you want to get better. This was a great post and it has definitely got me thinking. Thanks, Beth.

  • Haha! I loved this Amy. Especially… “We are all so unique. We all have different motivations and different passions and different interests and different desires but some things are great equalisers”

  • writeofthemiddle

    Oh wow – I would love to go to something like that! I had never heard of Catherine Deveny or her Gunna writing workshops but now I have thanks to you! Not sure if she ever comes to Brisbane? I absolutely love what you wrote in your 5 minutes!! 🙂 xo

    • She does- look her up at catherinedeveny.com 🙂

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect

    Well done .. I had to to this at Uni and everytime I found I would ramble on about nothing. It actually made me nervous. I need a topic or an idea before I can sit and write…

  • Ha ha love a good stream of consciousness post, done a few in my time!

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    Good on you for investing in yourself and taking time out to embrace your writing! Sounds like a really valuable course – looking forward to reading the fruits of your labour in the years to come!!!!

  • I LOVED learning about everyone and how diverse was that group?? Well, except for the line of people in the sexy time business. 🙂 I want to have a body image like Catherine Deveny. My goal for next year.

  • Haha you sound like me with the need for the bathroom 😉

  • Alicia-OneMotherHen

    Loved what you wrote!