Frequently asked questions

Scroll down to read about Write & Shine workshops, online courses, retreats & the seasonal membership scheme.

I’ve read the blurb, but what are the workshops really like?

Workshops are structured and led by Gemma. She’ll set writing tasks based on a different theme each week. Take a look at some pictures from a recent workshop on our Facebook page. Online courses and retreats offer you the chance to further your writing independently, so while we set the tone and offer some ideas, the time and space are yours to fill.

We offer 10 places per workshop (up to 12 for our guest tutor sessions). We think Write & Shine sessions are best suited to small​er​ groups. This allows us to deliver a better experience, creating a stimulating and supportive atmosphere that benefits all ​our ​attendees. Book now.

 

Are the workshops suitable for beginners?

Absolutely! We encourage people of all kinds to try their hand at creative writing. Write & Shine is ideal for beginners looking for a way to begin as well as experienced writers keen to explore their ideas in a safe environment.
 
One of the reasons we know people return to our workshops is because the focus is always on generating new writing. We don’t share the work we produce. There’s definitely a time and place for feedback and critiquing, but this isn’t what Write & Shine offers. In classes with critiquing, the chance for feedback from the tutor and other writers can really help improve writing, but for some writers it can damage confidence or hinder creativity.
 
Write & Shine workshops encourage writing freely, which encourages all kinds of unexpected ideas to emerge. After each workshop, participants leave with a few pieces to develop in their own time.

 

What time should I arrive for the workshops?

We suggest you join us fifteen minutes before the workshop starts: 7.15am for Leicester Square workshops and 9am for the sessions held at Waterstones Piccadilly. Arriving early will ensure you get the most from the session, can enjoy our calm, relaxing atmosphere, and still have plenty of time to choose your coffee and pastries. Some venues open especially for our workshop, so late arrivals may have to wait for entry. We know it’s early, but please arrive on time.

 

What should I bring to the workshop?

We will provide breakfast to power you through the session, so all you need is a pen or pencil and something to write on. Perhaps treat yourself to a special notebook to incentivise you to write. You’re welcome to bring your laptop, although make sure it’s fully charged as there is limited access to plug sockets.

 

Where exactly are the venues?

Leicester Square workshops are held in the Library at Westminster Quaker Meeting House, 8 Hop Gardens, off St. Martin’s Lane (between Côte Brasserie and Gymbox), London, WC2N 4EH. Please arrive at 7.15am for a 7.30-9am session. Press the ‘Kitchen’ or ‘Library’ intercom buzzer and someone will open the door. Map here.

Piccadilly workshops take place in the Mezzanine Cafe at Waterstones Piccadilly 203/206 Piccadilly; London; W1J 9HD. Please arrive at 9am for a 9.15-10.45am session. Head to the Jermyn Street entrance at the rear of the shop. We’ll be upstairs, in the cafe. Look out for the Write & Shine signs. Map here.

 

Are the venues wheelchair accessible?

Yes! Step-free access is readily available at Westminster Quaker Meeting House and Waterstones Piccadilly. Please just get in touch to let us know about your access requirements and with any questions.
 

What happens during the morning writing retreats?

We’ll sit together in one room, writing independently. Write & Shine will provide a comfortable, peaceful setting, with tables & chairs, and a basket of inspiring writing books, objects and materials.

Breakfast will be available from 7.15am and throughout the retreat, so you can join any time from then. There’ll be quick introductions at 7.30am, and the session will be concluded at 9am. Bring your work-in-progress or a blank notebook ready to fill.

Before you arrive, you might like to set some specific goals for the 90 minute retreat. Then you won’t spend the first moments deciding what to do! Remember that in the morning, you’re more sensitive to the sights and sounds of the world. So it can be the best time to think & imagine, with afternoons more suitable for editing & researching.

You are welcome to bring your laptop, as there are plenty of plug sockets. Wifi is available, but it can be temperamental! Please print, download or save any materials you need. Book your place here!

 

Tell me more about the online courses.

We now have four online courses that starts at 6am on the morning after you book. Choose from ‘Kickstart Your Morning Writing Habit,’ ‘Colour,’ and ‘Light’. Our new course ‘Sound’ has just launched, and you can join in whenever you like.
 
Online courses contain four email dispatches. Each offers a set of vibrant writing prompts which will appear in your inbox at 6am on the same day each week.
 
Courses are self-guided and we recommend allowing a minimum of 60 minutes for each session. You should begin each session at 6am, or at least in the morning & earlier than you’d otherwise rise.
 
Some people print a copy of the email, others refer to the message on their computer, tablet or mobile phone screen. Some write in bed, some from their desk, others on their morning commute. We encourage you to connect with us via Twitter or Facebook to let us know how you’re doing!

Book your course here!

 

What should I expect from your new online course ‘Sound’?

Many writers long for a quiet place to write. Everyone serious about becoming a better writer should take a batch of time away from home to write uninterrupted for at least a few days. But finances, busy lives & responsibilities mean that doesn’t always feel possible.
 
So, we’re here to offer you a writing space where you can uncover new ideas & let your creativity flow. With our ‘Sound’ online course, you’ll receive a set of writing prompts in your email inbox once a week to inspire new writing all about what you hear and feel in the morning. Expect to consider language & stories, reading aloud & whispering, silence & meditation, the sounds of the sky & the sounds of the sea, mindfulness & the dawn chorus.
 
Just £15 for four weeks of encouragement & inspiration! Join us! Follow this link to the booking page!
 
Not yet convinced? Sample an exercise from our seasonal ‘Celebrate Spring’ online course here!

 

Tell me more about the membership scheme.

We want to make it easier for you all to join the sessions you like, and to continue your creative thinking & writing beyond the workshops. Our Write & Shine seasonal memberships aim to motivate you to make the most of your mornings. Being a member allows you to enjoy everything Write & Shine has to offer for a fixed fee during the three-month season. Gain access to all our morning workshops, online courses and a glorious retreat. Members will be first to know about each new season’s programme, and may even be offered some special treats along the way!
 
We have a membership scheme each season. It’s £99 for three months. Buying each session individually would cost over £200, so we hope you agree this is a tempting introductory rate! You can join as a member anytime, but the earlier the better to make the most of the season. Members will be sent an unique membership code, which can be entered at the checkout when booking each session. Buy your membership here.

 

Can we book a Write & Shine workshop for our organisation?

Absolutely. Write & Shine runs single workshops for organisations across London. We’ve shared our love of mornings at Morning Gloryville’s dawn dance party; in a circus tent for Canary Wharf Arts & Events; and after a Pilates class at the Adidas Studio London for women on Brick Lane.

Our host at Better Bankside Better Bankside, Daisy Lindlar, said of the workshop: “It was so popular we had to start a waiting list! The content was dynamic and interesting, with attendees scribbling away for the full hour and a half. Gemma tailored the workshop to meet our needs, steering the conversation towards the benefit that creative writing can bring to your working life. I would definitely recommend Write & Shine to businesses looking to offer some unique professional development to their employees.”

Our rates are reasonable, and we’re able to adapt the concept to suit your requirements. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss how your company or venue could benefit from a Write & Shine session.
 

What are the benefits of creative writing?

Great question! We believe that writing regularly boosts your wellbeing, productivity and working life, including by:
– increasing your self-awareness and capacity for innovative thinking
– improving your ability to persuade and motivate with words
– developing your creative, descriptive and analytical skills through reviewing different pieces of published writing
– feeling energised by writing rapidly and continuously, letting go of doubts and self-criticism
– exploring new ways to express yourself, to have faith in your own voice and enhance your ability to judge your own writing

If you do all this in the morning, it absolutely sets you up for the rest of the day.

 

Which creative writing resources do you recommend?

There are so many inspiring times. Stephen King’s On Writing offers a great perspective on the tools needed to create fiction. Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones is all about writing swiftly and freely to learn to write well. The Writer’s Voice by Al Alvarez is a fascinating set of essays analysing how authors such as Sylvia Plath and Jean Rhys uncover and develop their distinct style. And the Paris Review interviews with writers give thrilling insights into the craft of writing. Check out early-riser Toni Morrison’s piece! Finally, the New Yorker’s fiction podcasts are tremendous.

 

How do the vouchers work?

When you purchase a gift voucher, we’ll ask you for the recipient’s name, email address and a message you’d like to include. We can send a lovely e-voucher directly to the recipient. Alternatively, we can email the voucher to you, and you can share with your loved one or friend.

 

What about refunds and cancellations?

No refunds are available but transfers to future workshops or courses may be possible with more than 48 hours notice. Please contact Gemma at hello@write-and-shine.com to discuss changing your booking.

 

Which online payment method do you use?

We use Stripe for our online payment system, which is a fast, safe and reliable service. You won’t need to set up an account or leave the Write & Shine website to pay. We won’t have access to your card details, and can’t obtain the details of your bank account. All payments are made over a secure connection.

 

What do you do with my data?

The only data we collect is the information you submit on your booking form (name and email address). You’ll automatically be added to our mailing list and receive our newsletter, as well as information about the workshop or course you booked. We promise never to pass on your details to third parties.