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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What is Social Media? What is #NoDAPL ?

What is Social Media?

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, WordPress, Twitter, Google hangouts, LinkedIn, You Tube, Bandcamp, Vimeo, Soundcloud, Goodreads, Vine etcetera etcetera.

It’s a generic term for the staging areas where we gather to share music, news, gossip and madnesses.

The dreaded Facebook is up first. Farce book. Face ache. It’s very annoying but really useful.

What do we do on Facebook?

We make friends around the world. We look at their photos. We like their photos or their status updates. We click the like button, the heart button or the angry button. These are found by hovering over the comments box at the bottom of each post.

We post photos, news, insights, book or music reviews.

We join clubs and groups. I belong to several gardening groups and groups about snowdrops.

We like and share, like and share. I like and share photos of snowdrops. I comment on various types of snowdrop. I like the people who collect different types of snowdrop bulb from all over the world. They’re interesting. To me, they are interesting, you might find this intensely boring, but I happen to like gardening. Sometimes, in January I like to sit down at the kitchen table with a cuppa and my snowdrop group and chat to them about their flowers. Yes, I could go to the pub or church or book group, but I like different types of conversations.

I like religion and spirituality in all forms. it interests me. Have you tried to have an open debate lately about religion, with anyone you actually know?

I joined the Bah’ai’s, the shamans, the muslims, the sunni’s, the buddhists and of course the atheists, for balance. I talk to them all the time. I learn from them all the time.

I joined yoga groups on Facebook. I don’t do yoga, except on Facebook. If I see a pretty picture with a description of how a certain exercise is done, I try it, for a moment.

I follow topics, people, activities, groups just for a moment and then I unfollow them again. I have no loyalty to the snowdrop bulb collectors. I come into their group and go again, as I please. It suits me.

I joined local history groups in many different locations. Also the free ads, the recycling, the local news sites and book review groups.

I can spend a week on line, chatting, learning, broadening my knowledge of the world and pretending to practice yoga. It’s great.

Twitter is for the sharper mind. It’s for the quick-quip flash of insight, make you sit up and think types. I’m not great at Twitter, but I know how it works.

The same principle of liking and sharing but with different buttons and a different platform. That means, different set of rules, a different staging area. A completely different arena.

First of all, your name does not have to e your name. In fact, your name should be something funny or thought provoking or related to your business. Even better, your name should be something really quite clever.

Mine is @orlabroderick. Not very original, but effective.

I gather writers, political activists and empaths from all over the world. I am slowly gathering a collection of folk I genuinely admire and have mainly never met.

There are rules. You are only allowed to write 140 characters. About 3 sentences. You have to get your point across to your twitter world, in just a few words. It’s a challenge but a fun game. You have to make your brain work.

How I use Twitter. Like millions of others, I have stopped buying a Sunday, or any day, newspaper. I feel that the journalism is often poor, lacking in balance and biased. I want more, basically. I want more insight, more voice, more grass roots honesty than a bunch of clever people chatting about an abstract. I read blogs.

I look down my feed for news and interesting things. People have their own blog or websites and they write what they know. I follow folk who are passionate about nature, the natural world and kindness. When they tweet, with a link and a description of that link and it sounds ok, I click on that link. Generally, it’s an article either written by themselves or someone they know. or a topic of common interest. Something they think is news worthy and worth a discussion.

Blog: an article about something. A column. An insight.

I like the ones that remind me of old fashioned insightful journalism before everyone was so worried about being politically correct.

I read blogs. from all over the world. About everything. Instead of newspapers. I write blogs. people read my blogs, they share my blogs, they re-tweet my blogs.

I read blogs from the Pirate Party in Iceland. from the women in war zones, from the Native Americans in Dakota, from the volunteers in Calais, from those stuck in Aleppo. I have actually been following the same Calais volunteers, across the social media platforms, for well over a year. That is a privilege. I have been friends with the leader of the Pirate Party, on Facebook, Twitter etc – for over 5 years!

Here’s the very best example I can give you of exactly why the internet, and social media, in particular needs you lot.

I befriended some native Native Americans about a year ago. I had read an article – BLOG – about their lack of water and the way the federal government of America was treating them. I have read their accounts of the myriad ways in which they have suffered at the hands of the powers that be in America. Google #NoDAPL and start reading. Search the internet for Standing Rock, North Dakota. Research this one topic and understand that our media allows us a fraction of current world news.

I also befriended the likes of Jim Hunter and Lesley Riddoch here in Scotland. I got clued up on land reform here in Scotland quite a few years ago. I read the blogs about the land grabs across Scotland. I read the stories of those here who cannot fish their rivers, farm their land, build or buy homes. I am up to date about Scotland’s battles over the places where oil is found and who wants to own it.

I began likening our land struggle to the plight of the Natives in America. In an age where we can print solar panels from 3D printers, why are we even considering laying oil pipelines?

Over in Dakota, the grandmothers’ opinions, insights and stories are being videos and uploaded to you tube and Facebook. Where are our Grandmothers in Scotland? Why are you all so silent? We also need to hear from you. Your voices are missing. Have you heard of the Dakota Access Pipeline and why millions of people from all over the world are taking to social media to support its demise?

Social media in Scotland, especially the Highlands, lacks a generational history of our culture.

There are free courses in UHI and many council offices, education centres and the like all over the country. People like me will teach you, in private.

The time has come for the older, educated woman of Scotland to make her voice heard on line.

If you think I can help you, contact me. I charge £15 per hour and I estimate it takes 8-10 hours to get you Facebooking and Tweeting your blogs with ease.

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Not Another One

Not Another One

Look away, turn away. Close the screen, throw away the newspaper. Another group of women share a history of oppression and shame. It’s banal, it’s commonplace, it’s sigh-worthy. It’s ‘oh no, here we go again.’

Dismiss me any way you can, remove me from your radar, your social chat, your mind, your consciousness. We read this story last week, last year – a hundred years ago.

At seventeen I demanded conversations about what abuse was and what my family knew about it. Thirty years later (almost) I am still asking the same questions.

Nothing has changed. My class mates are the latest to join in the anthem of suffering. The once-silent ones standing with the not so silent ones.

I was rarely quiet about the state of affairs in the boarding school I attended. I’m fairly sure almost everyone I’ve had even a passing meeting with has been aware that I considered my boarding school a hell hole and an abomination. Close friends know why I am terrified of nuns and choirs.

If our mothers spoke we could join the dots to where it all started, how it was perpetuated. But many of our mothers still refuse to admit that they knew we were being raped, groped or hurt. Before they were our mothers, they were daughters. They were raped, groped, silenced daughters, just like us.

My mother dismissed my abuse claims with the phrase “never mind that one, she has a great imagination”. This was a common cliché. I heard my grandmothers say the same of her. Our mothers spoke over us, denying our truth, burying our voices. That was their job. It was what they were taught to do, encouraged, forced, to do.

Take your eyes from these words, don’t read on. It’s the same old story told over and over and over again.

“I threw a snowball and slipped on the ice, ended up with my leg in a cast and a bed in the junior dorm, under the eye of a young orange haired nun with immense breasts. The night she put her hand under my duvet I nearly broke her wrist. She was a big thing and she had a pal, another young nun who was all creepy-cuddly. They frustrated and annoyed me, always watching me, always standing too close. I stole from their pockets, their lockers, their larders. I used their phone. I drank their wine. I took up smoking, drinking, mitching, thieving. I acted up, acted out, spoke out of turn. I stomped and ranted. The young nuns were released from the dorm and we seniors were given rooms to share. Away from their glare, I had boyfriends in several towns and villages around rural Ireland and a large bottle of Bulmers waiting in many bars. I went where I wanted, did as I pleased. No one cared.”

This is my own true voice. This is my memory. My family refuse to believe this memory of mine is real. They tell me I made it up. That I have a great imagination.

All these old yarns have pain and suffering sewn into the fabric of them. It’s the thread that binds. We try to buy it away with pretty things or watch it away with terrible telly. But it’s in the breaths we take when we are alone. The pain is the truth we dare not tell, the not daring tell is the pain. Round and ever round. On and ever on.

The hardest thing for me to accept was that my father did nothing. I was disappointed in men by the time I was eighteen. At twenty I began to believe he wasn’t my dad at all, because he hadn’t spoken about the hell hole. I saw Irish men as weak. They were the only ones who could have stopped the priests from groping their daughters. But they didn’t.

My mother and I argued like bitches. We fought wars about abuse, patterns, priests and the like. She told the world I was a liar. In secret she said I deserved it.

Scoil Muire Gan Smál was another one. Just another catholic boarding school with a long shadow. Just one more isolated religious establishment with a a paedo priest and his willing nuns.

And now, just one more group of women are sharing their memories, swapping the small remembrances, offering each other a bit of love and space to say aye, we were there too. It happened. You are not alone. You lived. I am here too.

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With my inner vision, I see/feel/have become a wet sheet hung out to dry, billowing in the wind, struggling to be free of the pegs which hold it to the line. In recent weeks, many of the pegs which…

Source: Moving

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