Bring a pencil (and a prayer?) on Jo’s writing course

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.We’ve still a few places left on one of Jo Parfitt’s inspiring Writing your Life Stories weeks. If you’re itching to write why not join us for perfect week of work and relaxation? And to inspire you more, here are some writing tips from the celebrated novelist Margaret Atwood (pictured above). They originally appeared in The Guardian newspaper in England and they range from the practical to the spiritual, from pencils to prayer…

Margaret’s tips:

  1. Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.
  2. If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.
  3. Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.
  4. If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.
  5. Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
  6. Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What ­fascinates A will bore the pants off B.
  7. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.
  8. You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.
  9. Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.
  10. Prayer might work. Or reading ­something else. Or a constant visual­ization of the Holy Grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.So why not bring a pencil and a prayer on Jo Parfitt’s creative writing week this August? Jo’s first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, so ‘by popular demand’, we’ve opened a second course: Her new Write Your Life Stories week will run from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018. You won’t regret it! As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

Jo’s creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away. Jo Parfitt has published 31 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.” 

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 Still some places AND 22 to 29 September 2018 Course full Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

And a final, not-too-serious, tip from another great writer:

chalkboard_quotes_twain

Double up on your experiences: Write your life’s stories with Jo

One of the delightful aspects of writing the stories of your life – whether it’s a full- blown memoir, or a journal, or an occasional blog – is that you can enjoy them twice.  Once when you experience them and once when you write them down.

And you’ll learn how to capture them in words in the most interesting way, both for yourself and for your audience, on one of Jo Parfitt’s Writing your Life stories courses at The Watermill. Jo’s September course is sold out, but there are still places on her earlier week, at the end of August. There are more details below.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Jo: looking beneath the surface.

Talking of blogs, Jo has just published an insightful blog about the French city of Reims which she visited recently from Holland, where she lives. It captures the rather forlorn, run-down atmosphere of the place and also makes us think more deeply about the past and the future.

How’s this for painting pictures with words: “The drive from The Hague took close to five hours under leaden skies and it was early afternoon when we arrived. The pleas of an immigrant beggar, his dog huddled under a blanket, greeted us as we stepped from the carpark. A homeless man pushed his bag-laden buggy across the street. A smiley lady with an Eastern-European accent rose from her park bench to ask us for a light for her cigarette, accidentally wished us good evening, then giggled at her mistake, her cold breath metallic with winey fumes.

“A clutch of teenagers, dark music emanating from some hidden speaker, carried their own soundtrack with them as they passed, squeezing us to the edge of the pavement, where a headscarfed refugee, cowed by hunger in a corner, held out her cupped palm.

“For a Saturday lunchtime the city seemed devoid of the window-shoppers and flaneurs I’d expect from France and was instead menacing enough for me to keep my hand clasped over the zip on my handbag.

“Reims was not redeeming itself.” 

Great stuff! You can read more on Jo’s blog by clicking here and you can learn the secrets of writing vivid prose with Jo at The Watermill this Summer.

As I said Jo’s first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, so ‘by popular demand’, we’ve opened a second course: Her new Write Your Life Stories week will run from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018. We’ve been told that this is an ideal time for many people, such as people who work in schools and universities, who can only take time off in the academic holidays and, of course, anyone who want to come is welcome. You won’t regret it! As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Add spice to your writing!

Jo’s Write Your Life Story creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away. Jo Parfitt has published 31 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Enjoy your experiences twice!

Jo adds: “The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 AND 

22 September to 29 September 2018 Course full

Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

Why a residential writing retreat will work wonders for your life stories

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Are week-long writing retreats workshops really worthwhile? After all, it is a large investment but, says Jo Parfitt, who is running two such retreats/workshops at the Watermill this year, on Writing your Life Stories. Jo says: “The luxury of staying on site, eating three meals a day with other writers and learning too is hard to beat.”

Here’s what one of our guests said about Jo’s last course at The Watermill: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.” Another added: Jo was a quite delightful teacher. I found a happy atmosphere permeating the Watermill, and I particularly liked my room.”

Here are Jo’s comments on the advantages of coming on a week-long writing holiday:

  • You will have lessons, time for homework, feedback and even one-to-ones with the teacher as well as free time
  • This can feel like more of a holiday than work and as such many people take learning holidays like this regularly because of the friendships and field trips that are part of the retreat
  • It is no more expensive than many standard ‘hotels with beach and pool’ holidays
  • Such intense learning will pay dividends
  • The camaraderie between guests can be huge fun at the time and lead to lasting friendships.

Jo also makes a checklist for Writing workshops and I’ve put the Watermill answers to her questions in green:

CHECK OUT the quality of the accommodation and the fields trips. The Watermill is a beautifully restored historic building, with lovingly refurbished bedrooms, all with an en suite bathrooms. Trips to Lucca or the Cinque Terre, a castle, a monastery, market day in historic walled town, hilltop village in mountains with gourmet restaurant.

Do you get airport or train station transfers? Yes, you get to Pisa airport and we do the rest!

Is the price inclusive of all accommodation, transfers, field trips, food and drink? Absolutely, from the moment we pick you up to the moment we drop you back at the airport: EVERYTHING is included in the cost of the writing week: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), tours, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca).

Do you get any further contact or tuition from the teacher afterwards? Yes, and Jo will tell you how you’ll keep in touch.

Do you lose your deposit if you have to cancel? We are totally transparent about this: A handling charge of £75 per person per week will be levied on all cancellations. In addition, if you have to cancel four to eight weeks before departure, a charge of 40% of the total price is payable; at two to four weeks, 60%; at one to two weeks, 80%; at less than one week, 90%. Once the course has started, 100% is payable. We highly recommend that you take out travel insurance that includes provision for you having to cancel.

Do you have to share a room or is there a hefty single room supplement? All our bedrooms/suites are available for single occupancy. There is no single room supplement. There is a discount if you would like to share. If you would like to come with a non-writing partner, there is also a discount for him or her.

As I said, Jo is tutor for two writing weeks here this year, but her first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, so ‘by popular demand’, we’ve opened a second course: Her new Write Your Life Stories week will run from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018. We’ve been told that this is an ideal time for many people, such as people who work in schools and universities, who can only take time off in the academic holidays and, of course, anyone who wants to come is welcome. We already have bookings coming in for this new week, so if you would like to join us, please let us know as soon as you can and we’ll make sure you have a place reserved.

Jo’s Write Your Life Story creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Jo Parfitt has published 31 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

Bring your experiences of life to life!

Bring your experiences of life to life!

Jo adds: The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
Write Your Life Stories

18 August to 25 August 2018 Course full AND 22 September to 29 September 2018 

 To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

An ‘honorary woman’ on the importance of Jo’s Writing your Life Stories course at The Watermill

Jo old photoI was staying recently with my friend Laurence Marks, the scriptwriter, and he let me read part of the manuscript of his memoir, about a period when we were both in journalism and in London in the 1960s. Beautiful writing and I can’t wait to read more.

Style: "Neutral"Laurence (Goodnight Sweetheart, Birds of a Feather, The New Statesman, etc., etc.) came on Jo Parfitt’s Writing Your Life Stories course here some five years ago and he still has fond memories. He says: For a week I became an honorary woman. Eleven women and me, all intent on learning the rudiments of how to write a memoir. I went home with my manhood intact, but I also left the Watermill knowing considerably more about the shortcuts and methods of chronicling my life. Under the careful, learned and sympathetic supervision of Jo Parfitt, I am now twelve chapters into my magnum opus and not a morning passes when I don’t refer to the notes and advice Jo passed on to me.” The battered photograph, top, sent to us recently by another participant, shows Laurence among our other writing guests.

Not bad praise coming from a successful professional writer! But Jo’s course is for aspiring writers of all levels. All you have to do is want to write! Jo says: The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

More creative writing under the vines May 11 squareWe’ had such a demand for Jo’s first Writing your Life Stories course this year, that we’ve opened a second week for her. Jo’s new week will run from 18-25 August. We’ve been told that this is an ideal time for many people, such as people who work in schools and universities, who can only take time off in the academic holidays and, of course, anyone who want to come is welcome. You won’t regret it! As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

We already have bookings coming in for this new week, so if you would like to join us, please let us know as soon as you can and we’ll make sure you have a place reserved.

Jo’s Write Your Life Stories creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away.

Jo Parfitt has published 31 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 AND 

22 September to 29 September 2018 Course full

Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

The Watermill February newsletter is out today

Feb 18 newsletter— a cheery newsletter to combat the February blues. Find out about our 2018 photography competition; a new yoga week with Reiki; and, by popular demand, another ‘How to write your life stories’ during the school holidays…….

You can learn more more by clicking here

 

Write the stories only YOU can write! And learn how to do it with Jo

Write right now!

Only you can do it!

We’ve had such a demand for Jo Parfitt’s Writing your Life Stories course this year, that we’ve opened a second week for her. If you’d like to have a crack at writing some of your life stories, be it a full-blooded memoir, or a shorter journal, or even a blog, we’d be delighted to welcome you here. Jo’s new week will run from 18-25 August.

Neil GaimanIf you’ve ever had the itch to write, there’s no better advice than that of Neil Gaiman, best-selling American author (The Sandman, Stardust etc., etc.), who says: “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.”

 

So, learn how to write about the real you, as only you can do, with Jo this Summer.

As I said Jo’s first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, so ‘by popular demand’, we’ve opened a second course: Her new Write Your Life Stories week will run from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018. We’ve been told that this is an ideal time for many people, such as people who work in schools and universities, who can only take time off in the academic holidays and, of course, anyone who want to come is welcome. You won’t regret it! As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

We already have bookings coming in for this new week, so if you would like to join us, please let us know as soon as you can and we’ll make sure you have a place reserved.

Jo’s Write Your Life Story creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Jo Parfitt has published 31 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

Bring your experiences of life to life!

Bring your experiences of life to life!

Jo adds: “The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 AND 

22 September to 29 September 2018 Course full

Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

By popular demand, a second edition of Jo’s Write your Life Story course

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Following yesterday’s article in the London Times newspaper, we have had a surge of enquiries for Jo Parfitt’s writing your life stories week at the Watermill. It was picked by the paper’s Italy travel expert Annabelle Thorpe as among the 50 best Italian holidays for 2018.

Jo’s first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, so ‘by popular demand’, we’ve opened a second week here for Jo. Her new Write Your Life Stories week will run from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018. We’ve been told that this is an ideal time for many people, such as people who work in schools and universities, who can only take time off in the academic holidays and, of course, anyone who want to come is welcome. You won’t regret it! As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

We already have bookings coming in for this new week, so if you would like to join us, please let us know as soon as you can and we’ll make sure you have a place reserved.

Jo’s Write Your Life Story creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away. To re-cap, the new course will run from 18 to 25 August 2018.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Jo Parfitt has published 31 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

Bring your experiences of life to life!

Bring your experiences of life to life!

Jo adds: “The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 AND 

22 September to 29 September 2018

Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

The Times commends Jo’s Watermill writing course

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.There’s an enthusiastic mention in The Times of London today about Jo Parfitt’s writing your life stories week at the Watermill, part of an article by the paper’s Italy travel expert Annabelle Thorpe, who has picked it as among the 50 best Italian holidays for 2018.

Here’s the piece: Writing in Tuscany
Most writing holidays tend to focus on fiction, but this Write Your Life Stories week at the Watermill at Posara (September 22 to 29) focuses on nonfiction, blogging and memoir. The course mixes sessions on the craft of writing with advice on how to pitch work to agents and publishers, and there’s a chance to explore the surrounding countryside with optional afternoon excursions. Non-writing partners are welcome.
The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Jo’s Write Your Life Story creative writing course is designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away. The course will run from 22 to 29 September 2018.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Jo Parfitt has published 31 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

Bring your experiences of life to life!

Bring your experiences of life to life!

Jo adds: “The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

Jo plus picJo Parfitt
22 September to 29 September 2018
Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

The Watermill January newsletter is just out…

Blog Jan 18 newsletter…with reports on

  • why The Week online thinks our painting courses are among the best in the world
  • our first-ever ‘painter in residence’, Sandra Strohschein
  • why you should WRITE when you paint, by Terry Jarvis
  • why you should dress like an onion in the wintry weather
  • how a yoga week with Claire Murphy can revitalise your life.

Intrigued? Find out more by clicking here.

We’d like you to be our friend! It’s inspiring and tasty

Painting by Vicky Norman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Play with you colours before you paint

I’ve just been posting some intriguing and inspiring painting and writing tips on the Watermill Friends page, like Vicki Norman’s advice on how to have fun colour-mixing (please click here to see it) and Jo Parfitt’s checklist to ensure your writing doesn’t become narcissistic (please click here).

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Caravaggio’s Narcissus contemplates perfection

I all prompted me to invite you, if you haven’t already, to become a Friend of The Watermill. You’ll enjoy practical and inspiring tips and helpful advice from our watermill tutors on

  • Painting and drawing
  • Creative writing
  • yoga and meditation

plus

  • mouth-watering recipes from The Watermill’s menus. (who can resist Lois Breckon’s gorgonzola soufflés : click here!)
Twice-baked gorgonzola soufflés, just one of the Watermill's culinary delight

Twice-baked gorgonzola soufflés, just one of the Watermill’s culinary delight

To find out more, please go to http://watermill.net/watermill-friends/index.html. Just follow the simple instructions to Register  (it’s free) and then Log In to enjoy a special relationship with us! And nourish mind and body with our creative tips and mouth-watering recipes.