To get the words onto the page, you seriously need to stop worrying about the title of your book” said our guest writer Clover Stroud. This was just one of the many liberating pieces of advice we would hear throughout the memoir writing day.
I’m still processing all the goodness that I experienced as host at last weekends ‘write a memoir with ease’ retreat. A suitably sized group of 13 guests arrived from all corners of the UK, promptly at 10am, keen to find their seat around the brightly displayed kitchen table. One lady had flown in from Dublin, after grabbing only one hours sleep, mostly due to the fact her 13 year old daughters birthday sleepover went on into the early hours of Saturday morning. Lots of caffeine was consumed.
The day retreat was facilitated and organised by little old me, with Clover at the helm, happy and energised to welcome all guests into her family home. As you can imagine, if you follow Clover over on Instagram, the house was awash with personality. Rainbow coloured ornaments, bold art, love notes, and flowers festooned on every wall and in every corner available. Neon seats and benches clustered together, made for a cosy seating arrangement for our cheery guests. Pencils and notebooks at the ready.
The main focus of the day was memoir writing, the guests eager to learn how to write about ‘the self’ and how to get their story onto the page. Having written three memoirs, which have all been Sunday Times bestsellers, and another three commissioned to write, Clover is best described as an expert of memoir writing - lucky us!
Over the course of a day, Clover shared her unique insights into the experience of memoir writing, providing real life examples, and writing exercises which helped the guests learn how to creatively channel all the feelings of their life.
The main objective of this retreat was to give the guests an opportunity to learn more about memoir, from nurturing their earliest ideas, to structuring an outline, to learning how to channel their deepest emotions to create beautiful prose. Clover was super generous with her advice and provided hints and tips on writing a proposal, getting an agent, and approaching a publisher. Priceless!
Reflecting on the drive home, I felt blessed, it was a real privilege to spend a day with such wonderful women. A beautifully profound and unique experience, filled with tears, joy and laughter, everyone supported by fellow new friends in a safe space.
I encourage anyone who is looking to be creatively and spiritually inspired to write, to join one of our writing day retreats. New memoir writing day retreats will be launching soon. Announced here and on my social media channels (@easeretreats) will be the news of new collaborations. One in particular with an award winning short story writer and another with a rather witty and charming journalist + podcaster + fiction writer. Watch this space!
Just a little reminder if you haven't yet read The Red of My Blood it is out now in paperback in all good bookstores. At EASE, we love to support local independent book stores, I'm sure you have a favourite one. Just in case you'd like any recommendations, my all time favourite and most local book shop is Griffin Books @griffinbooksuk in Penarth or Daunt Books Summertown in Oxford @dauntsummertown
Until the next time
Take care and stay safe