Creative Writing Adventures: Writing the City

Our reporter Gill James has been keeping herself busy with creative writing exercises and as we ease ourselves into life after lockdown she wants you to continue, enjoy and join in with our series, Writing Adventures!

Are you enjoying being out and about a little more? Have you ventured into the town centre yet? Are you now becoming such a dedicated writer that you always have a notebook with you? Are can you use your phone as a notebook?

Here’s a suggestion. Go about your normal business and then find somewhere to sit for a moment or two.

Jot down a few thoughts about:

  • What you’ve seen – think about the people, the buildings, the signs, what makes your town or city what it is and what about the colours?
  • What you hear – what are the sounds that make this town what it is – and you may be surprised – even in the midst of all the bustle you may still hear birdsong
  • What can you smell – stale air, something cooking, perfume from flower beds?
  • What do you feel? In both senses of the word. How does being here make you feel emotionally? What about the hardness of a bench you’re sitting on? The firm ground beneath your feet after you’ve been used to slippers on carpet? What about the bite in the wind or the warmth of the sun?

People used to think that to write haiku you had to be in the presence of bamboo. This was just a misunderstanding.

Really, what had been meant was that if you want to write about bamboo, you should do that in the presence of bamboo. So, if you want to write about the city, put yourself into the presence of the city.

You should have now a lovely collection of words and phrases.

Back home, or if you now wish, in the library or in a café, use these lovely words to produce some interesting writing.

Maybe you’ll choose haiku. Remember, these are approximately three lines, one of five syllables, one of seven and the final one of five with a bit of a change between the second and third lines.

Perhaps you’ll write a passage of evocative prose. The present tense works well here. Or maybe you’ll go for a poem, rhyming or otherwise.

You could try an acrostic poem, where you start each line with the letter of a name. What might we make of Greater Manchester, Bury or Salford?

Have fun writing the city!

We would love to see your work, so send us an email to [email protected] and we’ll publish them. 

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