An easy to use, easy to riff off, writer’s guide to kickstart a new writing project, picking up the threads of an old one, or tinkering with an unfledged idea. The Imaginarium Solo offers a space for you to play, think, listen and write around an idea – word, image, or story – that just won’t let you go, with the intention of ripening it at a pace that suits you.
Four audio provocations, embedded within the guide, will prompt you through an accumulative writing process. For run through the guide, start to finish, probably takes about six hours. This, of course, can be broken up to fit with your life. As with all Imaginariums, Solo is based on my own processes and designed to encourage imagining, creating and writing for all genres. It’s for those who would like an invisible companion / gentle provocateur as they write
You choose the cost: from £5 – £25. Pay below and I’ll email a link to the digital guide. While you can print it off for your use, you will need to be online to click through to the audio files that are the writing guides embedded in the pdf.
Here you’ll find all the offline provocations for our One Day Plus Imaginarium.
The recordings are designed for you to write alongside them, with recorded silence in which to write. You can, of course, switch off the audio at any time, and set your own alarm, repeat a provocation that works better than another, or make notes towards a thing rather than write the thing itself.
Each provocation is timed to give you space to faddle before and after it. If you need an early lunch then obviously slot it in to suit you. The sequence intends to grow and widen your thinking/dreaming.
1200-1230 Provocation One A New Music: hearing the music or rhythm in your project.
This provocation works out of the thought that each new piece of writing has a particular voice, or music, that will lead you though the making of it. You’ll need: a piece of writing from earlier, an influencer book, and sheets of blank A4. When you’re ready, press play.
1330-1400 Provocation Two Its Creatureliness: How does it feel?
This exercise approaches your idea / project / writing from a different angle: as another being, an embodied feeling thing. It asks you to identify moments that illuminate the larger feeling of the body of the project, and consider its shape or form through any changes that occur. You’ll need: whatever you use to write
1430-1500 Provocation Three The terrain: What is contained within your piece?
Press play and gather around you what you’ll need: all the bits and pieces of your project: the previous writings, photos, influencer books, the music – all the things that have brought you to this point, this piece / project – and spread them on the floor or table top.
1500-1530 Provocation Four A Tethering: The final writing session for now, discovering where your imagining, exploring and poking have brought you. Fifteen minutes to flesh out an aspect of the project. Write slowly, write carefully, write for the full fifteen minutes if you can.
Imaginariums offer a structured space to support your thinking, writing and experimentation. They rise out of my own creative practice and respond to other artforms and across genres in their aim to widen, stimulate and flex our imaginations. The creative sessions are reciprocal, sparking off what I am reading, writing and thinking and what participants are. No two sessions or programmes are the same, as they depend on how the projects of all involved chime with each other. This is what I love about them. A Writer’s Imaginarium is a community in which to share live ideas, processes and questions that feel current, of the moment.
To riff off what Richard Powers wrote in The Overstory: ‘liking and not liking [are] the rod and staff of commodity culture’: Imaginarums are not about writer feedback and creative criticism. They are places of incubation, a quiet resistance to rushing towards an end product, while holding a sense of momentum towards something, be that a particular form or aspiration for the completion of a piece of work.
Imaginarum Half and Half is a short, intensive burst of inspiration, working across two sessions with interim provocations and play.Info on the next one is here
Imaginarum Solo is for those of you who’d rather work alone at your own pace. It’s a pdf with guided provocations in online audio recordings. More info here
Imaginarium Summer is a new nontutored month-long laboratory into the art of writing without writing*. Provocations and inspirations are sent to you through August, with a blog forum for discussion, and a one to one at a time of your choosing. Even if you are based in the southern hemisphere, the intention is to spread some warm sunshine ease through your writing process. For more info when it is open for applications, sign up to my infrequent newsletter
That is the true magnificence – if you can live in a culture that is so destructive as ours is, one that keeps you down and discouraged and broken-hearted and if you can still sing your song, dance your dance, cook your food and speak your mind, then you’ve won. — Alice Walker
The Spirit of the Imaginarium
Each Imaginarium, whatever its form, explores how writing isn’t necessarily fast acting: either in its creation or in how it is received. Imagining operates on different timescales to our daily work/life, home/office, inside/outside worlds. It resists our consumerist culture and refuses to be commodified. It does not follow expected narratives. Imaginariums relish the joy, struggle and complexity of creation. They share a love of communication, expression, bewilderment, confusion, chaos, disruption and whatever else you unearth. Each Imaginarium is provocative: changing one thing into another, or at least how we see one thing into another (which might be the same thing).
Who might come to a Writer’s Imaginarium?
Any one who is writing, or wants to write, something, short story, novel, creative prose, poetry or something more hybrid, is welcome to participate. You do not need to have much experience of writing , or you could have three novels under your belt. Imaginariums are for the curious; writers who are interested in how they might develop their writing and thinking around writing .
Imaginariums are tailor for those who already have an idea, half-fledged, in scribbles in notebooks, an image lodged in your memory. It needn’t be fully formed or fleshed out, just an itch you want to scratch. I do ask that you commit to all the online group sessions (whilst being aware life happens).
I have an application process to ensure each Imaginarium contains writers of different genres, at similar stages in a project, if not their writing life. So you can learn from each other and how our work, ideas and interests may cross-fertilise. It is an open space in which to discover what can happen where different imaginations meet.
The applications are not looking for any particular style of writing or seeking to impose a qualitative stamp on your work.
What previous participants have to say
A Writer’s Imaginarium was an incredibly powerful structure that enabled me to explore a new creative question with depth, nuance and openness. That Sarah managed to continue and grow an incredibly meaningful creative course during a uniquely challenging time (early pandemic) speaks volumes about her skill and knowledge as a facilitator, and also her integrity and heart. I strongly recommend the Imaginarium course to anyone considering a writing project that looks impossible, that feels overwhelming, or that appears to be hidden from view. Sarah is is a wonderful guide. She will provoke you and support you as you unearth your creative work.
A safe space to be an unsafe writer – to push beyond your comfort zone, write stuff that doesn’t matter, chop it up, turn it round and then realise it’s like nothing you’ve written before, and that that does matter. What it entails – better trusting the innate potency of the intangible to assist with your writing – writing, re-thinking time, colour, shape, ownership, associations, triggers. It allows you to write as your synapses actually fire, more than as society wishes your mind to work. Uncolonised writing.
It made me think about writing in a more physical way.
Such a generous and kind tutor … love your bubblin joyousness and playfulness…so infectious.
It opens up what process is … taking you outside of your usual or imagined self. I wouldn’t say out of your comfort zone because it felt like a very safe and supportive space, but perhaps that, in terms of what you imagine your writing or practice to be.
I liked the inputs and reading you give us and the crazy exercises, not just writing and reading out. A group on imagination has to be imaginative after all
A melting pot of thoughts, discussions, ideas, views and useful writing exercises for all genres.
I found the one-to-one to be invaluable. Talking to someone about it and some of the problems I’m facing with it helped me to see it more clearly and gave me something of a different viewpoint on it, which was good.
This is very different from more conventional writing workshops and might particularly suit people who are not so much wanting very specific writing support but more interested in exploring their own and others’ creative process.
Pulls you out of your writing and into yourself, then pushes you out of yourself and into your writing.
I have been creating spaces in which to think, write and experiment across the community for over thirty years. I draw on my practice as a poet, performer, artistbook maker and collaborator. I devise the sessions from my own writing processes which have resulted in work for print – in books, journals, and artistbooks – multimedia exhibits, dance videos, lyrics, pyrotechnical installations, on stage and radio. I have written books: Host, my first poetry collection, was published by Waterloo Press (2010), andmelt came out December 2020. Between the two collections I have also co-written site-specific immersive stories, told through geocaching, augmented reality, micro-print & performance. I also work as a coach, mentor and editor.
My collaborations and interactions with the visual, digital and sound artists, musicians, scientists, writers and makers all play a part in influencing the creative and fluid space of my workshops.
Have a rootle around the website to find out more about me.
How can writers of different genres learn from each other? How might the work, ideas and interests cross-fertilize? What happens in that space where different imaginations meet? Read more about my thinking of the imaginarium here
If you have any questions, then get in touch sehymas [at] gmail [dot] com
Wednesday 16th March, 7-9pm
The Gallery, Storey Institute, Lancaster LA1 1TH.
Using sculptures and prints featured in Catriona Stamp‘s Where Are We Going? exhibition as departure points, this writing workshop will explore what migration means to us and how we’re connected to current and historical migrations. We will explore themes of home, alienation and change.
This is a session for play, investigation, art and imagery, open to all, however experienced you are as a writer and whatever form you usually write in.
To book use the contact form below
Where Are We Going?
Paper sculpture | prints | artistsbooks | film by Catriona Stamp
Featuring new work on human migration alongside a retrospective
The Gallery, Storey Institute, Lancaster LA1 1TH
Fri 4 March – Tues 22 March. Noon – 6pm Monday – Fridays.
Myself and Maya Chowdhry led a visioning day on Morecambe Bay in February 2015, drawing on the expanse of sea, sky and fresh air to gain clarity and focus on your writing practice.
Using a one to one coaching session, a variety of creative tools (including writing time), and group discussions we aimed to activate the participants’ creative missions.
This was a pilot day and we received very positive feedback:
“Group size was great… very relaxed and, at the same time, challenging”
“This is the time you can’t find in your office, the thinking and dreaming time, the time to plant seeds and water them.”
“The culture of the entire day was conducive to trust and relaxation. I felt refreshed after it.”
“I feel able to make some very positive steps towards my goal.”
“The walking coaching was brilliant. I loved the combination of moving in physical space and talking about quite big, otherwise difficult to identify, things. It helped me get out of my head and into intuition.”
This workshop is suitable for writers with some writing experience as you will be discussing your current creative projects. Each day will involve a short walk and some physical movement.
We are planning future days around the coast. If you would like to be told of the next day when it is finalised or one specific to your area, please get in touch