Sweaty Palms

Folk think I’m being funny, trying to make them laugh when I say I have prescription anti-perspirant. It’s true folks. I get so nervous I have extreme perspiration. The chemically loaded gak needs to be spread all over my body the night prior to any occasion where I might have to stand up and speak. It needs to be washed off twice.
I also take shed loads of prozac.
And I have to do meditations with visualisations where I tell myself ‘I am enough’.
Working for the WEA Woman@Work project has helped me enormously. I’m not half as bad as I used to be. Three years ago I had a stutter whenever I tried to speak up, but, because we have been teaching confidence building courses, some of it rubbed off on me. Mixing with other women who know how a lack of self worth can affect you has been marvellous. Being able and allowed to discuss how puke makingly nauseous talking in public can be is just the epitome of cathartic.
Tomorrow i am actually doing what I should be doing, for myself. One of the things I do best is teach creative writing techniques, but, for so many years I have been terrified of stepping into that role. I don’t know if lack of parental support throughout my life is the reason, or whether it’s some sort of cultural anomaly, but the fact remains, I am one very sweaty nervous betty with drippy hands, beaded upper lip and horrific damp patches.
I’m laying off the alcohol tonight. I have a light meal organised and my bag of books is all ready for tomorrow. I will do my Super Woman pose before folk arrive and I will teach with my heart pointed to the heavens. I will remember to breathe.
It’s only thanks to Lorraine Thomson and the team at Women@Work that I can even contemplate doing this.
I’ll let ye know how it goes and whether I ever want to do it again…..!

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Photos from workshops

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Find Your Inner Writer, Findhorn

Mindfulness and meditation are now widely recognised as therapeutic exercises for enhancing our life experiences. Basic meditations play a crucial role in developing consciousness and boosting creativity. In order to expand our understanding and capabilities we must wake up more of our brains, train our minds to do a little more and a little more each week.

David Lynch, the film maker, attributes his success to a thirty year practice of transcendental meditation. He believes that his creative process is directly linked to his ability to pull ideas from his unconscious mind.
We know that creativity reduces stress and empowers us. We know that making something makes us feel positive.
This creative writing course is based on mindfulness and meditation. It is a taught process of relaxing the brain, breathing slowly into each hemisphere of the brain with a visualisation, in order to focus and balance the left brain and the right brain. This exercise was researched in the literary department of Trinity College Dublin in the 1980’s. It is also used in Buddhist meditations.
Students are guided through a visualisation in a meditative state and then allowed to write freely for twenty minutes. They write anything that comes through their minds, pens must not leave the paper. In this exercise they will discover thoughts and ideas they were not previously aware of. With regular practice they will find their own unique writer’s voice and stories they did not know they had.

You don’t ned any experience of meditation. You don’t need any experience in creative writing. All you need is pen and paper and a willingness to try. It’s fun, safe, nurturing, hard work and you will amaze yourself.
Concessions available. Come for one day or sign up for all 8 workshops, the choice is yours. £30 per workshop including on line tech support 0r £220 for all 8, all inclusive.

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Find Your Inner Writer, Findhorn

Following on from the success of the WEA W@W sponsored workshops, I am delighted to offer a series of creative writing workshops in Findhorn. You can dip in and out, there’s no need to sign up to every class. You don’t need any experience. You just need to be able to listen to your breath, still your mind and learn how to discover your inner writerly voice.
This course is based on a meditation. It involves sitting still and breathing. With focused guidance you will learn to write freely from your heart and soul and then how to glean the delicious nuggets of your subconscious unconscious to shape stories. You will study various strong women’s voices and writing styles and learn how to play with words. You will pick up different writerly voices and try each one on, like a hat, to see how it fits.
This is fun. It’s hard work. It’s a challenge. But it might just change your life!
We will be based in Findhorn, Moray. We will meet once a fortnight on either a Friday or a Saturday morning for three hours. We will support each other via social media.
I need ten people in order to keep costs to a minimum.


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Orla Broderick

I was just a single mother cleaning toilets and cutting grass, trying to make sense of life in a council estate on the Isle of Skye, when I won a week on a writer’s retreat at Moniack Mhor. It changed my life. Over the course of the next fifteen years I gleaned every bit of technique, trick or insight from the best authors and poets Scotland has to offer. I was placed on the HI-Arts writer’s masterclass. I won fine mentors. I was published in literary magazines, newspapers and even Channel 4.
I self published my first novel, The January Flower. It was the first indie novel to be long listed for the Polari First Book Award. I won the Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award with a chapter from it. It has been most favourably reviewed around the world. My second novel is due in 2018.

I love to pass on all the knowledge I gained from my tutors, friends and mentors. I devised a series of creative writing workshops and am currently funded by WEA Women@Work to teach my Find Your Inner Writer workshop, which is a short course based on meditations and free writing. I also teach self publishing. I also teach privately.
I am based in Findhorn and can be found at The Bunty, helping with the World Water Watch. I am a digital warrior for alternative media and was influential in helping obtain accurate reports from Standing Rock. I established both the Skye Literary Salon and the Highlands Stand With Standing Rock movement.
About my work.
Irish by birth and by accent, I have a wealth of hilarious tales of holy Catholic Ireland which I love to regale packed halls with.
My writing is nature based. It is filled with love and passion. I can decorate pages with gorgeousness, or, with a word leave you sobbing. My characters are larger than life, rather wild people who are really just poor souls all wanting love and acceptance. I do not adhere to any genre. My work is full of raw honesty. It is accessible. I believe I can show others how to learn ways to develop their own true style. I try to write poetry but it always lacks brevity so i compose beautiful Facebook updates instead. I have represented the Highlands of Scotland at the London Indie Book Fair. I have read my work on BBC radio. I performed my work in Edinburgh to a crowd of hundreds and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. I travel anywhere. I also review literary journals, poetry and literary fiction. I write very irreverent stories for young adults. Most days, I sit on the beach with my dog, writing and dreaming. I am very grateful to the folk who plucked me from the council estate.

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Shameless self promotion and the writerly world

It’s a hard, sore, difficult-to-fathom fact that we just have to accept. It’s a grow up and get over yourself moment. It’s a sair thing. It’d bring tears to the driest hardest eye and the know it all dyed in the wool traditionalists think it’s vanity publishing and beneath them.
My apologies for bringing you this dreadful news. But, if you want to write and sell books, you need an on line presence and no, that does not mean you are capable of answering an email or three once a fortnight. It means you are required to tell the world of your genius and engage with other souls, often only for the benefit of others.
You must be pro-active. You must put yourself out there and demonstrate that you are capable of being an author in this modern world.
It’s odious. It’s positively vile. It’s the very opposite of what I thought writers did. I do not like it. It makes me feel sick to the pit of my stomach. I would much rather someone else did the dirty work for me and left me alone to compose pretty sentences all day. Even if I had a traditional publisher, an agent and a team of publicists, I would still have to show willing and tweet, facebook, blog and so on each week or so. Even if I was an author with ten best sellers behind me, I would still have to maintain some sort of visible persona on the internet that other folk would find and engage with. it’s compulsory.
I loathe and despise the showing off, but, a few years back, I had a wonderful mentor who kicked my ass into the new age of literature and made me learn how to do it. He made me start at the beginning and figure out each and every step of self promotion and then self publishing.
A few months ago I broke my leg in a freak accident involving a sand dune and sobriety. I knew it would be a long hard road to recovery and I dreamed of days penning the beautiful lines, indulging in my favourite fantasies, running wild with all my inner personalities. But, no. The painkillers, the surgery, the pain, the constipation, the wooziness, and all that wiped me out and I lay like a stone for three months.
Now, I have to somehow pick up where I left off and let me tell you boys and girls, bloody blogging does not come easily to me. Feken tweeting is a pain in the ass and I could throw Farceboom across the river. But, I have books written and to write, sold and to sell and there’s no choice. Writers can’t live in gorgeous isolation anymore, we need to get out there, say hi and build audiences. It’s the law.
Of course, I now teach the stuff. I sit and show folk how to do it. All of it. From nothing to published. From a dream to reality. I learned well, and so, I teach well. I have courses and classes up and running. I have space for more clients. If you fit the description of writer with little or no experience of self promotion or self publishing, or if you want to discover and develop your writerly voice, then use the contact form below and I look forward to meeting real people, rather than cyber-beings.

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