We’re delighted to announce that our spring programme will run virtually, with all our Write & Shine workshops taking place via Zoom.
Our face-to-face workshops are taking a pause, but we’ll continue to use creativity to lift our spirits, enhance our energy levels and inspire us in this new medium.
At the heart of Write & Shine is our wonderful creative community. We’ll do all we can to maintain and support this community—so you’re all invited to rise early and gather for our virtual workshops.
All workshops this season run from 7.30 to 9am. To allow some time to settle in, we’ll be online from 7.15am so join us anytime from then.
To participate in a virtual workshop, you’ll need to download Zoom onto your computer. Installation takes only a minute and is easy! When you visit the website, click on ‘Sign up, it’s free’ in the top right and follow the instructions. Please test out your audio and camera before the session.
The day before the workshop, we’ll send the Zoom meeting link.
On the morning of the workshop, just make a cup of tea or coffee, grab your notebook and pen, and join the Write & Shine Zoom meeting anytime from 7.15am, ready for a 7.30am prompt start. We’ll close at 9am.
Join from a quiet and well-lit place (so you can be seen and heard) and turn on your video camera (as seeing each other’s faces helps create a good atmosphere).
Write & Shine sessions are suited to smaller groups, so we’ll cap numbers. This allow us to create a stimulating and supportive atmosphere for all who attend.
Free gift for the first 25 people to sign-up to our virtual workshops! We care deeply about supporting you all to find moments of calm, joy & creativity in your lives. Book a workshop this season & receive a lovely springtime creative package filled with inspiring goodies including a notebook, pencil & delights from our friends at Paperchase. (Update 27 March: Now all gone!)
Follow us on social media to find out more.
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 of £149 during the season (this season: March to June).
Think of it as a Write & Shine classpass, with added support, resources and inspiration offered during the season.
> Access to all the spring writing workshops in our programme including a guest tutor sessions and the morning writing retreat
> Unlimited access to our new online library of courses, with new sessions added every week
> Free workshop invite for a friend
> Our springtime creative package
> Special treats along the way. We’ve hosted a private tour of the beautiful London Library, with cocktails to conclude the evening. We’ve also held events in unique venues such as Babka cafe in Bloomsbury, and attended author talks.
“Write & Shine writing workshops give me inspiration and structure as I start to make writing more than just a hobby. Each week I leave feeling excited about what I have scribbled down in my notebook and my best pieces of writing have without fail been from an early morning Write & Shine workshop. I am absolutely sure my membership is making me a better writer!” – Becca
Members will be sent a unique membership code, which can be entered at the checkout when booking each session.
Each of our workshops is themed, allowing us to delve deeply into a subject. In the sessions, we offer a series of writing prompts related to the theme in its broadest sense. This season will include sessions on bees, blossoms and International Women’s Day, a writing retreat and a guest tutor workshop with poet Philip Cowell.
And to mark our new partnership with Paperchase, we’ll celebrate craft in all its forms, including fine paper, pencils and the joy of writing letters.
We’re excited about our upcoming sessions:
Paper, (29 April, 7.15-9am)—We’ll use fine paper, origami and paper craft as inspiration.
Rabbits, (7 May, 7.15-9am)—It’s the centenary of the birth of Watership Down author Richard Adams, so we’ll remember his famous book and everyone’s favourite springtime animal: the rabbit!
Handwriting, (13 May, 7.15-9am)—We’ll offer writing prompts about the tools we write with and the way we write.
Spring retreat, (14 May, 7.15-9.30am)—Bring your work-in-progress to this morning writing retreat. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll get done in a couple of hours!
Women Walking, (22 May, 7.15-9am)—In May, there are walking festivals taking place all over the UK. Join us for this session to consider the power, politics and inspiration of women walking.
Letters, (27 May, 7.15-9am)—You’ll be invited to respond to a series of writing prompts on letter writing, stamps and the joy of correspondence.
Craft, (28 May, 7.15-9.30am)—We’ll enjoy a morning writing workshop about crafting, making and creativity.
Breakfast, (18 June, 7.15-9am)—Join us to take inspiration from the first meal of the day. (Date subject to change)
Dear Diary, (25 June, 7.15-9am)— A session marking the anniversary of Anne Frank’s death and considering the power and inspiration of journal writing.
We invite artists, makers and thinkers along to Write & Shine to lead workshops on their particular areas of interest. In the past, we’ve welcomed graphic artists, poets and playwrights, a florist who guided the group through a session about the language of flowers and a photographer asking us all why we flinch when the camera points in our direction. Gemma is always present, with the guest tutor facilitating the workshop to offer a burst of creative stimulus.
This spring, poet Philip Cowell hosted a workshop using the theme of ‘Friendship’ as a creative prompt. Philip wrote This Is Me, Full Stop (Penguin) and Keeping a Journal (Sheldon Mindfulness). He leads fun and physical writing workshops that help people reach into their lives to find new ways with words.
In 2020, we invited inspiring Cornwall-based poet Katrina Naomi to lead a session for us.
Last summer, we had a photographer Rachel Cherry host a workshop about proximity and closeness in photography and writing and a playwright Annette Brook ran a session looking at ways of creating ‘good’ women and non-binary characters – not good as in angelic – rather characters with layers, complexities and unique voices. We loved hearing their insights and ideas. In spring, we had two guests: non-fiction author Amber Massie-Blomfield on writing memoir and storytelling and puppeteer Bronia Evers.
We have a library of online courses designed to bring out your creativity. Our Write & Shine online subscriptions give you unlimited access to our library of courses for just £3.99 a month. Each course is inspired by a theme and is made up of four timed exercises. All you need is a pen, a notebook and a quiet space to allow your creativity to flow.
Courses are self-guided and we recommend allowing a minimum of 30 minutes for each session. You should begin each session in the morning and earlier than you’d otherwise rise. Find out more here!
We do! Write & Shine gift vouchers make ideal presents for a loved one, friend, or colleague. We send these as printed or e-vouchers, so wherever they are in the world, you can offer your special someone invaluable space to reflect, craft and create. With a voucher, they can choose an inspiring writing workshops or a peaceful morning retreat. Our lovely gift vouchers are available for the seasonal membership, a one-year subscription to our online library, or for a workshop or retreat.
Give the gift of creativity! Terms and conditions: Each gift voucher contains an unique code to be entered at the checkout when booking. Vouchers are valid for 12 months from date of purchase. Gift vouchers are sent by email or UK post within 5 working days (free P&P). Buy vouchers now!
Yes! Write & Shine offers an ideal space for both new and experienced writers to explore ideas in a safe environment. Write & Shine workshops last 90 minutes and encourage writing freely. This allows all kinds of unexpected ideas to emerge.
Rather than share the work we produce, we focus on generating new material and tapping into our imaginations in the morning. The chance for feedback from the tutor and other writers can help improve writing, but for some writers it can damage confidence or hinder creativity. After each workshop, participants leave with a few pieces to develop in their own time.
We offer around 14 places per session as we think Write & Shine sessions are suited to smaller groups. This allows us to create a stimulating and supportive atmosphere that benefits everyone who attends. Our workshops are open to all and we pride ourselves on being LGBTQI-friendly. Most of our venues are wheelchair accessible. Due to the format and content, we recommend workshop participants are over 16 years old. Book now.
We suggest you join us fifteen minutes before the workshop starts. 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.
Leicester Square workshops are held 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.
Tottenham Court Road workshops take place in Bea Cafe at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road 19-20 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 1BJ. Please arrive at 9am for a 9.15-10.45am session. Please head downstairs (or lift) to the cosy basement area when you arrive. Map here.
Goodge Street workshops take place in BEAR Cafe at Paperchase Tottenham Court Road 213 – 215 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7PS. Please arrive at 7.30am for a 7.45-9.15am session. Please arrive at the main entrance, where you’ll be directed to the first floor cafe. Map here.
Marylebone workshops are held at the Rooftop Kitchen, Alfies Antiques Market, 13-25 Church St, Marylebone, London NW8 8DT. (nearest tubes: Baker Street, Edgware Road or Marylebone). It’s a lovely spot with views over London’s rooftops from the terrace. The cafe sits on top of Alfies Antiques Market, which is a treasure trove of delights. Please arrive at 9am for a 9.15-10.45am session. Head to Alfie’s Antiques and head up to the rooftop cafe by stairs or lift. We’ll be in the cafe. Map here.
Westminster Quaker Meeting House, Paperchase and Waterstones Tottenham Court Road are fully accessible for wheelchair users. Quaker Meeting House has a step-free entrance. Waterstones has a step-free entrance and a lift down to the cafe.
However, while Rooftop Kitchen has step-free entrance and there is a lift available, the building is not fully accessible for wheelchair users due to steps leading to the cafe.
At Rooftop Kitchen, the only way to access our workshop area is by lift as the stairways are closed during our visits.
We will endeavour to ensure future venues are fully accessible. Please just get in touch to let us know about your access requirements and with any questions.
For the face-to-face workshops will provide breakfast to power you through the session. For virtual sessions, you’ll need to bring your own! For both, please join us with a pen or pencil and something to write on. Perhaps treat yourself to a special notebook to incentivise you to write? We encourage you to write by hand, as we think this helps create a calm and creative environment for all. But if you prefer, you’re welcome to use a laptop, although make sure it’s fully charged as there is limited access to plug sockets in our venues.
The ticket price for face-to-face workshops covers your place at the writing workshop itself: a burst of morning creativity before your busy day begins. We also offer a complimentary light breakfast, which varies according to the venue. Usually this is a hot drink or juice, and a pastry or slice of cake. Gluten free and vegan options are often available, but please let us know your dietary requirements when you book and allow 48 hours notice.
We’ll sit together in one room, writing independently. Write & Shine will provide a comfortable, peaceful setting, with tables and 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 9.30am. 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 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 and imagine, with afternoons more suitable for editing and 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. Check the booking page for future dates.
For the retreat offered via Zoom, we’ll use a similar format: introductions followed by independent writing time. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll get done in a couple of hours! We’ll conclude with a facilitated discussion about our writing, challenges and successes and plans for the future.
Absolutely. Write & Shine runs single workshops for organisations across London. We’ve shared our love of mornings at Charing Cross Library, Gunnersbury Museum and in Paperchase’s flagship store on Tottenham Court Road. We’ve also hosted sessions at Morning Gloryville’s dawn dance party; in a circus tent for Canary Wharf Arts and Events; and after a Pilates class at the Adidas Studio London for women on Brick Lane.
Our host at 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. I would definitely recommend Write & Shine to businesses looking to offer a unique professional development experience 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.
The Write & Shine programme is led by writer & early riser Gemma Seltzer. She set up Write & Shine in 2015, following a collaboration with a photographer in 5am London, which captured the city during the first part the day. Gemma makes all kinds of literary projects and has enjoyed facilitation, performance and writing commissions from organisations such as Age UK, BBC Radio 3, Tate Modern & the Venice Biennale.
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 will set you up for the rest of the day.
Oh there are so many inspiring titles we’ve enjoyed and used in Write & Shine sessions! We like:
* 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.
* 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.
Of course! We’ve had plenty of publicity for our morning writing programme in UK & international press. You can read more about the beginnings of Write & Shine, and how we spend our time in the early hours, here:
* Tips for Tapping into Morning Creativity (The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, 2019)
* Write & Shine for Better Mental Health (Paperchase, 2018)
* It’s Time to Write (Writers’ Bloc, 2018)
* Things to Do: Write & Shine (Time Out, 2018)
* Inspire: Gemma Seltzer of Write & Shine (Less Stress London, 2017)
* Q&A with Gemma Seltzer of Write & Shine (whitefox, 2016)
* Discover your Creative Skills (Psychologies magazines, 2016)
* Write & Shine (A Little Bird, 2015)
* Where London Looks Best in the Morning (Londonist, 2015)
We’re sorry but no refunds are available. Transfers to future workshops or courses may be possible with more than 48 hours notice. This allows us to offer a place to someone else on the waiting list or promote the slot to our community. We’re a very small organisation and while we’ll try to accommodate any changes in your circumstances, we do need this notice to ensure we can cover costs including venue hire, refreshments and paying guest tutors. This also helps keep our programme sustainable. Please contact Gemma at email@example.com to discuss changing your booking.
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.
The General Data Protection Regulation came into effect on 25 May 2018. We regularly review all our data and privacy policies to ensure we adhere to the law.
The only data we collect is the information you submit when you sign up to the newsletter (name and email address). You will receive emails from Write & Shine about your booking or subscription, but you will not be added to the mailing list unless you have first consented by signing up through our website. Similarly, if you purchase a gift voucher to be sent by email or post, the details will not be added to our mailing list. We occasionally send gifts to members and workshop attendees by post. In these cases, we will only use the postal address given for that activity. We are committed to ensuring that all your personal information is kept private and protected, and promise never to pass on your details to third parties. You can unsubscribe from our newsletter at any time by clicking the link in the newsletter footer or by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any concerns regarding privacy issues, please contact us on email@example.com.