Just Some Things - the beginning...

As you all know (or should know by now because I mention it all the damn time, sorry!), I'll soon be guest lecturing at my alma mater, the University of Winchester. In October, I will be leading a couple of seminars on Professional Writing (specifically Blogging) within the first year Publishing module. So that's a bit bloody exciting. And terrifying. 

(I guarantee I will be visiting my beautiful halls when I go back there...oh, nostalgia.)

One of the key things I've been thinking about when planning these seminars is engagement. As in, getting the lovely fresher kids to engage with me, as a speaker, as a writer, and as a human. I've got tips from various people; friends, family, colleagues, the resident lecturers at Winchester, even experts in this field like Laura Dockrill, Anna James, Katie Webber, and my good pal Mr Gee. All these tips have been logged and considered, and the ones I've heard and liked most have been 1. be yourself 'or they'll see right through you', and 2. open the doors and break the ice immediately; ask questions, get the brains going.
The latter tip has got me researching and mind-mapping the most. I wondered what questions to ask straight away – I'm probably going to go with general ones such as 'what does the word blog mean to you?' and of course 'do you blog? Yes? Good. No? Why not?!'
But then I want to stand out and give these students something different. So I looked at my sexy bookshelves and it hit me – I can use one of my DIY books and personal favourite idea engine, '642 Things to Write About'!

This book has been given to me by some lovely considerate friends, all of whom have said 'this just seemed so YOU!' and it is. It's a perfect supply of inspo – 642 prompts big and small, long and short – it's ingenious. I have since bought more variations of this book, its brothers and sisters, '642 Things to Write About ME' and '642 TINY Things to Write About'. Endless inspiration for blog posts, creative pieces, articles, novels...!

So the idea is: I'll walk in, chat with the students a bit, and then throw some of these prompts at them. They won't know what's hit 'em! It'll break the ice and break down the creative walls. Perfect plan, me. *pats self on back*

Then I thought...what if I pre-empted this seminar intro device with some individual posts? And then I thought...who would want to help me with this? Why, my multitude of gorgeous blogger friends, of course!
And thus, this feature on my blog was born. It's probably been done before, it'll probably be done numerous times in the future, but this right here is gonna be mine.
I had been considering interviewing blogger friends at some point anyway, but wasn't sure it would fit right with my posts. I LOVE doing interviews myself, and have done a few now for some utter babes including Jo @ JoScribbles (Their Scribbles: Interviewing Gracie), Michelle @ The Unfinished Bookshelf (Q&A: Grace Latter), Stacey @ The Pretty Books (Shelf Swap with Grace), Jim @ YAYeahYeah (#6 Degrees: Only Ever Yours To...) and Josh @ Josh The Blogger (Blogger Chat with Grace Latter). 
I'm always honoured and excited to be asked to answer questions for other blog posts, and of course I LOVE guest posting for others sites such as The Olive Fox, so I figured I could send an email round and get some volunteers for this feature! 

How it works is, I'll send a writer an individual email with prompts from the '642 Things to Write About' book – these prompts are chosen randomly most of the time – and then when I get the responses I'll dedicate a post to them and their piece. They can do whatever they want with it - fiction, non-fiction, truths, lies, a total flip job...anything!
So then their piece will be put in first, and I'll add in a little piece of my own beneath it, my response to the same prompt. I will always ensure mine is shorter and less prominent, obviously. It's all about featuring my fave writers. 

Watch this space, readers. It's about to get even more creative - and co-operative?! - around here. 

Let's have a taster now, an example of a prompt from this book and what a writer can do with it. This is my response to: You get 3 do-overs. What would they be and why? 

1. I'd cut my hair even shorter when I was 13. I wanted a pixie crop. It became an overgrown grandma bob. All the hair piled up on my head and my fringe became an enormous presence - even more formidable than it had been my whole life until that point. I'd cut it shorter, and I wouldn't care when the boys at school said I looked ugly or the girls in the playground called me a dyke. I'd stick a finger up and sass 'em. 

2. I would not have slept with that one, all that time ago. 

3. Okay fine, I'd have properly locked the fire escape door on our spaceship. Maybe that would have helped prevent the whole alien invasion issue. Maybe not. But c'mon, that whole day was fun, wasn't it? And our way of life these days is...different...but who doesn't love a challenge now and again? That's what the occasional erratic zaps on the street are. A challenge. We all look like we're dancing as we evade the beams. It's really quite beautiful. But of course you idiots don't notice, because you're too busy fearing for your lives, or whatever. Lame. 

If you are interested in doing one of these posts, do tweet or email me at [email protected]

(Perfect image by Kayleigh Causton illustration)


  1. That's exciting about your opportunity to teach a lecture at your university! Love the book, it def offers alot :)

    Jenn| www.creativeboundless.com


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