Posted by: gillarbuthnott | January 22, 2012

Get Out Of That Comfort Zone!

I took my own advice and tried a bit of living dangerously – writing-wise – yesterday, by taking part in the Alternative 26 creative writing workshop as part of the 26 Treasures of Scotland project at the National Musuem of Scotland.

After some creative warm-up excercises, each participant was assigned one of the 26 Treasures, and given an hour to come up with 62 words inspired by it. I was given (not literally, unfortunately) a beautiful 15th Century clarsach known as the Queen Mary Harp.You would think that would inspire me, wouldn’t you? But no, I couldn’t think what to do with it until I noticed the woodworm holes… One hour later, and I had a 62 word poem called The Song of the Woodworm.

The whole experience was terrific, because it was so far out of my comfort zone as to be in another galaxy entirely. To wit: I don’t do poetry. I don’t do short. I don’t do writing groups. I definitely don’t do reading my work out to people. It was very liberating to defeat so many don’ts at once. I can’t wait to do something like it again.

The pieces of writing that we produced should go live on the website in a few days, and I’ll put a link up to them when they do. There’s some great stuff there.



  1. You were fabulous! Callum, another participant, who like you has always said “I don’t do poetry” is now saying “I don’t do poetry NORMALLY”! Huzzah for the undermining of don’ts. (Except for sensible ones like “I don’t play in traffic.”) And here’s to doing it again!

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