Writing the City
Every day scenes can spark powerful ideas. Reclaim time for thinking. Leave routine, ruts and responsibilities behind. See things differently. This is your antidote to life in the fast lane.
We live in a hyperconnected world and we’re always ‘on’. Time for self-nourishment can seem impossible but the place you live holds the key to reconnecting with your creative soul, your community and the local environment. Allow the cityscape and its people to inspire you; make space to reflect on the stories you tell yourself. Why? Writing about our past and present experiences can provide an antidote to life in a city addicted to speed.
Your words have power!
Writing for wellbeing is a simple and powerful way to draw on your inner wisdom. If you’re suffering or recovering from burnout, if stress is manifesting in your physical and/or mental health or affecting your relationship with yourself and others, then write about it. Create space for reflection and resilience-building. Put observations and ideas on the page. Fire up your senses, imagination and memory. Reframe negative habits and thought patterns using positive psychology. Explore blocks and fears; learn how to manage stress better. Benefit from improved clarity and focus; rewrite your future and flourish.
Whether you’re an experienced writer or just starting out, Writing the City is writing for pleasure and self-discovery, not for publication or a deadline – it’s for you. However, it may ignite an idea you pursue or fuel a passion for sentences and the Big Smoke in a way you could never have imagined.
See things differently
This course will inspire you to embrace a mindful approach to living in an urban environment and engage with it a different way. Notice the details of your neighbourhood. Understand how you’re spending your time, energy and attention. Become inspired by the place you live, not overwhelmed by it. Gain perspective on your life and uncover the city.
Just like Street Meditations, this course is also about the life-changing power of curiosity. When you begin to explore your city with fresh, curious eyes, it changes every aspect of your life. You begin saying “hello” to neighbours that you’ve never greeted before. You remember creative dreams and ambitions that you pushed aside long ago. You start noticing your life instead of just rushing through it. Surprising connections and synchronicities materialise. The transformation is profound.
Who is this for?
This is an inspiring, impactful course for individuals who crave connection with themselves and need to manage the stress better. It’s for people who yearn for more time and headspace to focus on the priorities that truly matter. Writing the City will encourage greater self-awareness and self-compassion. It’s for anyone who is curious about themselves and the world around them. And it’s definitely for you if you’re feeling creatively frustrated, bored or stale. Best of all? This course is for anyone who wants to enjoy their creativity and city more, and feel frazzled less, so it doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced writer or a first-timer. There’s no homework and no deadlines!
What you’ll learn:
- Find out what expressive writing means and how it can shift your mood or change your perspective
- Explore old stories and understand past experiences through a different lens
- Practice mindful descriptive writing to feel less stressed and more present
- Apply positive psychology techniques to reframe your thinking and develop useful habits for life
- Understand how writing for wellbeing is a powerful stress management tool
- Practice electric writing to spark ideas and plant the seeds of stories or personal essays
- Cultivate your curiosity and sense of wonder
- Experiment with rewriting challenging memories
- Capture a stranger’s story in real life or in your imagination
- Boost your creativity by walking to engage with your city and your community
- Play with writing tools and see how typing, handwriting or speaking influence your creative output
- Ignite your imagination and hone your powers of noticing as you move about your hometown
- Gain clarity on how your spend your time, energy and attention. Reclaim time and headspace for the people and experiences that truly matter to you.
Registration Open Now
The four-week course starts on Monday 30 April 2018. Course includes:
- 20 lessons, stories or reflections delivered to your inbox each weekday morning in a short, manageable email with an invitation or prompt to help guide you through the rest of the day
- 8 worksheets
- 4 videos once a week with insights and thoughts on avoiding burnout, becoming more present and making time for your creative and personal priorities
- 4 weekend interviews (written, audio or video) with an urbanite whose perspective will inspire you to reconnect to your body, mind and dreams
- 1 audio meditation
- 1 Urban Curiosity Walkshop guide in pdf format.
- 1 #wordpower pack in pdf format
- Access to a private Facebook group for creative community and support.
Scroll down for FAQs, praise from past participants and a note from the teacher.
duration: 4 weeks
location: IN YOUR CITY!
Fall back in love with your city
This I know: words have power and stories can change your perspective. Hello, I’m Clare Barry. I’m a Londoner and the founder of Urban Curiosity but mostly I am a writer. I write to make sense of myself. I interview others to feel less alone in my experiences of being alive, and to be inspired by their stories and discoveries.
My work is all about creativity and human connection in a digital world and how to live a meaningful life in the urban age. I don’t have everything sussed. I suffer with doubt and anxiety at times. I live with grief having had four people I love die unexpectedly in the past seven years. Finding balance with my digital life is an on-going process and I can be inconsistent with getting enough exercise and good nutrients. I am a recovering people-pleaser and struggle to say ‘no’ more often than I should.
Some days I wonder who the hell I think I am to build this creativity and wellness company: what do I have to say that’s different or original? This is the thing: I am not an expert in being anything but me. Writing has helped me get to know myself better. And be kinder, more forgiving of my flaws and shortcomings. I am a woman seeking a constructive way of expressing herself, understanding herself and engaging with the world after decades of striving and worrying before eventually hitting burnout. I don’t have all the answers. What I do is experiment, study, collate research, curate inspiring ideas and opinions. I reflect and write, then share what I find. I encourage you to use what’s helpful and ignore what’s not.
Writing the City is a gift to yourself: space for thinking and reflection, for noticing the small ordinary details, enjoying every day wonder and feeling alive and, most importantly, rewriting your story for a happy and healthy future. Let’s have the courage to explore and the daring to approach our creative edge – join me!
Will Writing the City help teach me how to write for publication? No, not in the conventional sense. It will give you tools to welcome more peace and calm into your days. It may inspire the seed of a story or essay, blog post or website copy.
How much writing is involved? As much or as little as you wish and there’s no homework! This is your course. There are observational exercises, creative writing reflective practice, expressive and mindful writing, journalling techniques and more BUT you can do what feels good for you. Also, if there is no attachment to the outcome being ‘good’, you’ll embrace how the process makes you feel and gain insight into the sentiment behind the words rather than viewing them critically as we would if we were to publish or share our writing.
Is there a Facebook group? Yes, but it’s optional. I’ll be in there a couple of times a week to say hi, read your words and share my own.
Do I have to share my writing? No, but feel free to share it in our private Facebook group or online with the hashtag #writingthecity. There is also the option of submitting to firstname.lastname@example.org and it may be published on the Urban Curiosity blog with your permission.
Will there be feedback on my writing? No. If you share your words in the Facebook group, then your fellow writers may wish to comment or reflect on these.
What if I can’t keep up with the emails? No worries. Go at your own pace. I encourage you to read the emails each morning write when at a time that works for you. Print them off or note down key things that emerge for you and allow them to guide your day.
Is this course a replacement for working with a psychotherapist, psychiatrist or counsellor? No. Writing for Wellbeing is not a replacement for professional mental health support. However, I am an experienced writer, group facilitator and creative writing mentor. I am a member of Lapidus International, the words for wellbeing association. I am a member of the National Association for Writers in Education, the sole organisation supporting the development of creative writing of all genres and in all educational and community settings throughout the UK. Membership of these professional bodies help me stay current with best practices and inform me of latest research into writing for wellbeing, group facilitation and learning styles. Find out more about me here.
So much juicy material to work with – loved this session. Come back and do another workshop with our volunteers soon!
– Laura Rae, writing programme leader, Ministry of Stories
Throughout the workshop I had a smile plastered to my face the whole time and a sore neck from nodding with agreement. Literally straight after it, I went across the road and bought a book to fill with the ideas that flowed as a result. The next few hours were spent happily writing away in a local park in my complete element. I walked home with my phone in my pocket and on the hunt for ‘red things’.
– Natasha Blok, multi-sensory specialist
This was exactly what I needed to avoid burnout and press the reset button on the joy of writing. Clare is welcoming and created a no pressure environment where creativity could come out easily to play. I wrote more than I imagined possible and had the absolute pleasure to connect with other creative ladies who I now consider friends.
– Aimee Du Fresne, coach and author
Thank you for creating such a generous and warm welcoming space for us all. So much of what I realised that day is still sinking in for me – I feel like the curtain has been pulled back in so many ways. It was a privilege to get to know you.
– Philippa Moore, novelist