A Writer's Process: Ann Palmer

Decades ago, I initiated the teaching of Creative Writing at several Colleges of Adult Education. My two qualifications: a primary teaching certificate and publication as a children's short story and article writer.

Back then, no guidelines existed for Creative Writing teachers.  Fortunately I like experimenting with creativity.

My reasoning was that the first word of the course was creative and all my students could write anyway. I ordered thirty books on Creative Writing from the States and quickly became fascinated by right brain led methods.

One student, a rocket-scientist, (really!) doodled all over his file while I talked. Eventually I asked Mark why he doodled. Mark told me it kept him switched on in boring lectures! That is, it kept his whole brain engaged; the doodling ensuring his right brain was activated.

A few years after this, I wrote my book on Creative Writing – 'Writing and Imagery: How to deepen creativity and improve your writing'. 

I had to change my pen-name to A.J. Palmer, the male look-alike, as the publisher believes male authors carry more academic credibility than women!

Today I am an eco-lyricist. I put eco-lyrics to well-known and much loved songs, carols and hymns. As my EcoCarols project had attracted global educational interest, I decided the next stage was to work up a musical script. It was to consist video-clips to expand on the lyrics of fifteen EcoCarols.  I knew how to do this.

On a playwriting course, we were asked to produce fifty action images to kickstart the creative process. So the method was familiar. Yet, for a whole year I put off doing it. The fact I had written a book on the power of imagery as a fantastic aid in the writing process (backed up by the experience of a rocket scientist who went on to earn a six figure sum for his fantasy trilogy) didn't seem to make any difference. Unsurprisingly, the longer I put it off, the bigger the block became. I willingly tackled other writing projects, rather than face that big block!

So, my advice is a threesome. Stay open-minded. Draw or otherwise engage your right brain. If a block feels big, remember the adage: the bigger the block, the greater the breakthrough.

It's a lesson I am relearning right now!