Private Writing Tuition

I have no formal qualification in teaching. Instead I have a gift for it. I have a talent and it has taken me a long time to admit it. Thanks to HI-Arts and Emergents, I benefitted from a fifteen year apprenticeship in novel writing and self publishing. Because of Creative Scotland’s funding for emerging authors, and Scottish Book Trust’s dedication to the book, I managed to attend workshops with Scotland’s finest poet teachers, academics and visionaries. I update and enhance my skills regularly with retreats at Moniack Mhor or similar. I am completing my first draft of novel three and I regularly enter short stories in literary journals, often published. My first novel is called The January Flower and it is available on Amazon (please leave a review).

My attitude to writing novels is that the words and stories should flow from the heart, then be shaped by some learnt techniques. The exercises I teach are not based on deconstruction of famous wordsmiths. I don’t demand clever insightful prose from my students. There is no vast reading list of highly acclaimed geniuses.

I teach you how to pull stories out of the nonsense in your head and then shape them into poems or stories or novels. I teach you how to start writing creatively, with highly creative techniques, exercises and homework.

  • This is a kitchen table/ coffee table service.
  • Payment must be made in advance for this service.
  • Once payment has cleared, I will read your work and offer to meet with you to discuss your needs.
  • Initial appointment lasts one hour, with in depth critique of your work.
  • Cost: £40 per session, payable by bank transfer.

Here are some of the reactions from former students;

“One session with Orla and I haven’t stopped writing since” – Laura.

“Thank you Orla, you really listened to what I needed and gave me the confidence to get published and enter competitions” – Amanda Gilmour.

“Your classes were the highlight of my week” – Viv.

“Thank you for taking the time to read everything I ever wrote and show me ways to put it together” – Christine.

“You are so insightful and patient” – Jake.

“Orla is a sublime and gifted creative writing tutor” – Napier Marten.

I am dedicated to all things writerly. I am interested in your stories and how you wish to tell them and I have years of experience nurturing the curious potential author or poet.

If you have a novel tucked away in a drawer, or the back of your head, please get in touch. If you have a dream of writing the stuff of your lived experience but have no idea how to start, then I may be able to help.

Please use the contact form below for details on how to make payments.


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RECLAIM Your Grandmother’s stories with Orla Broderick

Do you yearn to reclaim your family’s secrets, lies and legacies?
Do you wish to restore the old stories Granny told at bedtime?
Did Nana whisper half truths of hidden happenings?

In this course I teach a mindful meditation technique, based in science, to extract the tales of dark times, drama, retribution, resolution and love you have secreted away in the recesses of your brain. I believe understanding and employing a little neuroscience and psychology aids writers to reveal lost or forgotten worlds.
Somewhere in your subconscious unconscious you have stored all the stories you ever knew. I designed this course on the way our brains create neural pathways to process the events of our lives and the way we shape narratives.
The technique is based in both the science of the brain and also Buddhist exercises. It is a new approach into the art of writing. Rather than intellectualising the mechanics of storytelling, you learn how to engage your inherent natural storyteller.
I teach you how to switch off from the dross of daily stressors. You learn how to see, then sit with, then own the stories you hold. This is a technique I call the ‘brain balance’. I lead a mindful mediation, often with sage or candles, to help you build neural pathways into the half truths you heard and the stories you collected from many generations. I teach you how to access your store of language, lived experiences, handed down home remedies and how they came to be. You might cry, you might get angry. You learn to write it out in another technique called the ‘free-write’. The free write is a gorgeous tool creatives have enjoyed for centuries to unlock the stream of pure consciousness. We detach from our inner critic, we switch off our internal editors, we release our intellectual wordsmith from our lives in order that the stuff of dreams, fantasies and inherited story may flow onto paper.
This is neither hypnotism nor an opportunity to wallow in the luxury of creative dreaming. This is a course for writers wishing to work hard writing, re-writing, discussing, inventing, re-writing until the life of a grandmother is written.

In a series of timed writing sketches with props such as vintage images, old maps and sparkly bras, you learn to create depth of humanity. You learn to ground her in the earth of a place, with all the language and culture she needs to be real. You learn how to place dialogue on a page, and why. I show you how to weave plot with home remedies, with tension, with colour, with texture in order that story is art.
You learn why we switch off the brilliant writer and step aside to permit Granny the freedom to tell her tale. Her history is yours to shape and share. The wisdoms, perils, trials, tribulations, battles, passions and actions of your Granny are yours to reclaim, restore, re-tell. By giving her voice, you empower her to reveal her secrets. You become the conduit for her memories.
I have found that students who practice my ‘brain-balance technique’, followed by a free write, as part of their daily writing habit have enhanced their creative flow exponentially.
Participants may work on either a real grandmother or a fictitious one.
This is a twelve week course. Workshops are day-long intensive writing challenges with online critique and Skype sessions. Bookings open on September 1st 2018

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Double Magnum (aka The Daless Inaugural Writing Retreat)


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The Bike Shed, The Brodie Literary Gathering and Daless Farm Writing Retreat

Dani, Lynne and Amanda read their work at The Bike Shed last night as part of the SMHAF and they were wonderful. The Bike Shed are now going to host regular open mic events and I hope at least some of you will consider reading your wonderful poems, stories and essays. One of the most enjoyable things about last night was the richness of culture being embraced and adored. This is surely one of the reasons we write? Because it is culturally important or inherent within us, to tell stories, play music and re-enact our lives in creative expression. I do not wish to see storytelling die out, I want to create poets so that our children’s children still know the heart breaking joy of the spoken word.
HUG and other local mental health projects are going to apply for funding so that I can bring you theses classes for free. Until that time comes, I am reducing the price in the hope of attracting more people. I am also cutting the class from 3 hours to 2. AND, we are going to start at the beginning again, with switching off, learning to free-write and then shaping the stuff of our free-writes.
If you are interested in this, please sign up, book by paying on line and send me a sample of work that you would like to work on. (When sending work, please put your name on the top and use docx or pdf or pages)
That’s £80 (for 4 workshops, plus one critique a week) to be paid to Miss Orla P Broderick (please ask for bank details)
We have the makings of a committee for the Brodie Literary Gathering and I would like to invite anyone who may be interested in getting together on a Friday, to join us at The Old Mill in Brodie, by Forres. This is a beautiful relaxed venue where you can practise reading your work or discussing ideas with fellow writers. If we form a committee, then we can apply for funding for author and poet events. We have been meeting at 5.30 on a Friday, if this time suits the majority? I am more than happy to teach whatever you need at Brodie, as required. Hopefully, we will concentrate on self publishing, and then use this venue to launch your novels!
Daless Farm Writing Retreat
Instead of the wild wild writing on the Isle of Skye, we are going to an ancestral pile deep in the Nairnshire hills. It is truly tranquil. You will be immersed in Nature for three days with fully tutored writing workshops, vegan food and wonderful company. That happens at midsummer and there is space for another dozen folks. You can contact me in the first instance but I am not actually organising it – Napier and Dani will be your hostess and host respectively and they will want to know your needs and wants so as to make your retreat as comfortable as possible. I think the cost is about £200, but Napier will provide these details on request. There are photographs of the magnificent house and surroundings on my Council House Publishing Facebook page if you wish to take a peek!

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The sin of the shed door

In droplets of hot pink pustules, the psoriasis returns with her pal the red itchy flaky eczema and I know I shouldn’t moan, I was taught early in childhood that you offered these physical ailments up for your sins.
And so The Hail Mary in Irish trips around my head, because that is still my default setting. ‘S’e do breatha, a Mhuire ata lan de grasta, ta an Tiarna leat…’ Illness, aches, pains, cuts, bruises were all met with the same response from my Mother, who had experienced much worse than any other Earthling and could offer ne’er a drop of compassion to her eldest.
As a child I wondered what my sin was. Today, I wonder what my sin is.
In this instance, it appears to be my shed door, or my attitude towards it.
Last week I was attacked and accosted SIX times by three different people, in relation to my shed door.
I was sitting here, in this spot, in this chair, enjoying the sun of a bank holiday weekend when a man I had never seen before walked past and as he did, he slammed shut the shed door.
It took me a second to comprehend. But yes, he really did do that. I got up and went to the door and opened it again. I thought about going after him, but I was in pyjamas with tits hanging out, hair wilder than a bush and actually, I smelled bad too, so I sat back down again.
He came back. he marched back down the lane and he banged the shed door shut again. So, I heaved my huge smelly bed-head body out into the lane and beside the man.
“I want that door kept shut” he said. “My wife and I are going to rip it off its hinges and hit you over the back of the head with it. You are inconveniencing your neighbours*and you must be stopped.” (*neighbour= holiday home owner)
“That is my wood pile in there. I have no insulation in my home and am reliant on two wood burning stoves. I cannot afford to lose a ton of wood. It is drying. The Police, the Community warden, the fire brigade and the local community councillor have all inspected the shed door and they all agree it does not restrict anyone’s access. You will need to get a solicitor and take this matter up with my landlady. While you’re at it, please mention that we need insulation.”
He became incensed. I tried to film him on my phone but my fingers are too fat and clunky so I failed.
“You are in a dark place” he said “I feel sorry for you, you poor excuse for a human. You hate us all don’t you and you have a persecution complex so you are trying to be as mean as you can. You don’t need that wood, this is about your sad pathetic life.”
I walked away with heart pounding.
I hate bullies. I do my very best to keep away from Screamie Wimmin, malicious gossips and bullies. Yet, they keep coming. I have had six months of bullies and attacks by bullies. I have a fear and dread of intimidation, which stems from the manner in which my mother would speak to me. I have sought help for this many times but because I have no mental health problem (yes, you read that right, I am certifiably sane) I cannot access the NHS psychotherapy department and I cannot afford the treatment privately.
He came back two days later. I prayed the Hail Mary again. I stood up and approached him holding out my hand
“My name is Orla Broderick and I really do not like the manner in which you talk to me. The shed door is none of your business. Please leave it alone.”
“You have no control in your sad pathetic life and so you are trying to control your neighbours. You have no one and everyone hates you so this is your only way of gaining attention.”
If I follow his line of thinking, then I have to consider his accusations (and the accusations of the other assholes) are a construct for their own projections. Somehow, for some unknown reason these men (there are 4 in total who complain about the blue shed door) either want to control me or want to be controlled by me. Is this rape culture and the evil of todays porn industry spilling over into my quiet lane? Is this the end of patriarchy? Why do three grown men wish to influence the manner in which I live?
And then it occurred to me. I do control them. They have to slow down as they pass my house. They have to see me, my bulk, my tits hanging out, my garden a kids’ delight, my home a haven for the gentle – and it frightens them.
Missus Bossy Blackbird has taken control. She has built a nest in there, on the shelf. She sits on the door and refuses to allow any bird, cat or dog near her shed. She has attacked seagulls, drawn blood from the crow and dive bombed my cat.
I try not to scratch. But I cannot stop laughing.

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Ft. Laramie Treaty Gathering at Ft. Laramie Wy May 4-6, 2018

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Independent Lakota Nation attends the Ft. Laramie Treaty Gathering & “Celebration” from May 4 to May 6.  Video of the event on the way. ?

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