Wannabe a Writer?

Jo's Weekly Workout

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Hi! I'm Jo Derrick (formerly known as Jo Good!) and I'm the editor/publisher of The Yellow Room Magazine, the first issue of which is launched in the autumn. I used to be the editor/publisher of Quality Women's Fiction Magazine (QWF) which ran for 12 years. I enjoy helping new writers into print and I'm particularly fond of short stories written by women for women. That doesn't mean that I dislike fiction written by men, but I relate better to the female experience (maybe because I'm a woman!). The Yellow Room aims to be a place where women writers can gather together for support, encouragement and friendship. There are further details of the magazine, its ethos, how to subscribe, short story competitions, guidelines for submission and much more on the website: theyellowroom-magazine.co.uk.

I am a writer as well as an editor, so I know how hard it is to get into print! I've had several short stories published (mainly in literary journals like Peninsular, Upstart!, Slipstream, Buzzwords to name a few, but also in mainstream women's magazines like Fiction Feast and the now defunct Woman's Realm). I've also had numerous articles and reviews published. I am working on a novel (trying to 'feel the fear and do it anyway'), but prefer writing short stories. I love that 'snapshot' quality where you get a brief glimpse of someone else's life, allowing the reader's imagination to do the rest of the work. I like to be totally absorbed in a piece of fiction where my emotions are fully engaged and inside I'm saying, 'Yes, yes, I know exactly how that feels!'

The Weekly Workout spot on the Wannabe A Writer site came about (I think!) because I started setting a daily writing exercise on the QWF forum (soon to be The Yellow Room forum!). I wanted to share my ideas for inspiration with other writers and see the results. I find creativity a fascinating subject and what inspires one person may leave another cold. The exercises didn't follow a particular pattern or theme. They came about from a simple idea plucked out of the chaos inside my head!

The workout is going to be a rugged, meandering pathway through the imagination with lots of clambering over stiles and stumbling across nettle-strewn paths. You'll be surprised where it takes you. I hope you'll accompany me on the start of this journey and before you know it you'll be galloping off in all kinds of directions you never thought possible!

Please take the plunge and post the results of at least one of the weekly exercises. Don't worry if it's just a paragraph or a few lines. This is a place where size doesn't matter! Your piece of writing doesn't have to be structured. Feel free to wander off and let your imagination lead you. This all about freeing up our creativity. There are no boundaries; no word limits; no deadlines. It's about enjoying yourself!

I will comment on as many of your posts as I can. I'm not a harsh critic. I'll perhaps suggest how you can develop your piece of writing; maybe comment on lines that have that particular 'wow' factor. Whatever I say, I want to keep it mainly positive, so don't be afraid to put your work up there. I'll also be inviting you to comment on other people's work, but please remember that you're trying to encourage and help others. There is no point in pulling someone's work to pieces, because it only leads to crushing someone's confidence and to them doubting their abilities, making them want to give up.

The whole point of the Weekly Workout is to exercise those writing muscles, have fun and to push our imagination to the limit. Feel the burn!

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5 Comments for Jo's Weekly Workout

Actions Date Time Author Excerpt State Id
View Reply 05/05/13 15:01:01 Paul Hughes Hi Jo. I have just joined the site but it looks like it has not been u… Approved 483
View Reply 04/03/12 07:45:10 Catalyst Did it ever eventuate? It certainly sounds interesting Approved 448
View Reply 01/12/10 09:08:22 gaelikaa I also would like to join in, when this starts! Approved 211
View Reply 23/10/10 10:05:45 Betjemansmouse Hi Jo, I'll certainly join in. Looking forward to this and helping oth… Approved 190
View Reply 17/10/10 09:59:03 annieye Hi Jo I'll have a go! Annie Approved 184
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