Well, that was a treat. The chance to spend 90 minutes on a Friday morning writing in the supportive company of Julie Drybrough and about 20 other participants in this GameShift pop-up session – whats not to like?
I’ve loved Jools’ facilitation ever since I first came across her work. She’s a brilliant developer of people, helping everyone to bring out just a bit more of themselves than they thought they could. It’s testimony to her skills that her regular Write Nights series has become such a popular event for folks exploring their writing. Jools has supported a hundred or more writers through that programme, which is – in her own words – a place of “stories, poems, memoirs, rants and skits”, a place of “belly laughter, tears and lots of inspiration”.
That same energy flooded into our pop-up. It was an effortlessly practical session, getting people writing from the first few minutes. From “saying hello to the page” to writing about a moment of joy, the session – like so many of the real gifts the world offers – was powerful because of the simplicity of the form and the genuine heart of the invitation.
The Zoom chat was full of insightful reflections. How hard some of us found it to stick to writing about joy, how easy it was to write about something darker and dystopian in its place. I realised that my own fiction often stems from a dystopian situation, even if the heart of the story is optimistic. What a joy it was to start with joy and stay there, even if only for five minutes.
Jools provided references to the ideas behind the work. We talked about Martin Seligman’s “learned optimism”, taking a glance at some of the wellbeing benefits that come from cultivating a more positive perspective. The work also featured James W Pennebaker’s work on the relationship between expressive writing and healing. With Jools’ agreement I have provided links to the underlying theory in this paragraph, so just click the links to go right there. Also, for anybody that would like to sign up for her Write Nights, you can find the sign-up sheets here.
This was a delightful session, beautifully led. Lovely work. Warmly received. We are sure Jools will be back to offer some more. The film of the session is below as a reminder, and as a resource for those who couldn’t make it on the day.
Meanwhile, our next pop-up event takes up a similar theme, with brilliant jazz musician Alex Steele.
Alex will take us on a journey through the mind of a jazz musician. Building on current research in psychology, neuroscience, organisational flourishing and the art of improvisation, he’ll build a bridge from the world of jazz to the world of teams and organisations. The journey will explore practical skills and behaviours that can change the ways we engage with uncertainty and complexity, and offer insights into how we connect and collaborate with others, and create personal and organisational change.
It’ll be interactive, powerful and brilliant, because that’s how Alex is. You can sign up here. Please do come, and as always please share this invitation widely.
Thanks for coming along, and we hope to see you all again soon.