Are you a writing gardener or an architect? Find out more with Jo

A lot of gardening went into Game of Thrones

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

Picture: Gage Skidmore

George RR Martin, the highly successful author of Game of Thrones, reckons there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. He says: “The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be.

“They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what the seed is, they know if they planted a fantasy seed or a mystery seed or whatever.

“But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Jo Parfitt, our inspiring writing course tutor, seems to be a bit of both, and during her week-long Writing you Life Stories course here she’ll help you both with your writing gardening and your storytelling architectural design!

The gardening bit: Jo says: I always include plenty of spontaneous exercises where I present an idea and immediately give students five, 10 or 15 minutes in which to write something. I give them with a seed of an idea, let them start gardening and just see where it takes them; how it grows. For me, I start with the germ of an idea, one that is not yet fully formed, put fingers to keyboard and go with the flow, writing from my gut until my ideas run out. I work out what I am going to say while I am writing it.”

The architect bit: Jo says: “After a break (a few hours or more) I return to the piece to put some structure onto it, adding subheadings if I feel I need them, maybe moving the text around a bit and cutting unnecessary words. I always ensure I include some kind of insight or takeaway because I like my readers to feel that my words are worth reading enough to come back again.”

Jo adds: It makes no difference whether you are a gardener or an architect, or, better still a bit of both. It is okay to start off with a detailed plan or with just a seed. What matters is that you accept who you are and learn to craft your natural style into a coherent piece worth reading.”

Learn more and be inspired on Jo’s wonderful Writing your Life’s Stories week here. 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.”

She adds: “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 and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

A safe haven in the Watermill Walled Garden. Picture: Sandra Strohchein

One of the best way to begin writing is with stories from your own life, whether it’s for a short blog or  full-blooded memoir. Or just a record for your grandchildren to enjoy and to understand what you did and how it was when you were younger. You’ll need motivation and courage, but the rewards will be great. 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 and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Writing under the Vine Verandah

Jo’s first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, but we still have a few places on her second Write Your Life Stories course, from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018.

Jo Parfitt has published 32 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 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

Write Your Life Stories
Jo Parfitt

18 August to 25 August 2018 two or three places left

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

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