Author, course tutor and mentor Dr Elizabeth Reeder tells us about wrestling with a bear of a novel, the origins of the word ‘ceilidh’ and why online courses are a dream for introverts, ahead of her online novel writing course this autumn.
“I’m so looking forward to this course. Autumn is such a beautiful time of year and with the shortening days, many of us both love the sense of the season and perhaps also really feel the shortening of the days as both good and bad. I love October but November, with the changing of the clocks, is a bit more of a struggle. In the past, I have found that being with others and talking about things that are important to me – like writing and reading – has been a great way to anchor the season and provide this bright thread through it.
We’ll be setting our own individual goals – and that might simply be showing up each week and doing some writing between – or they might be quite ambitious about finishing a draft you’ve been wrangling with. My current novel m/s is a bear and it growls and I might just decide to grrl back a bit when the clocks go back. I’ll be setting goals along with everyone else. As a group we’ll also build a specific shape to the course as a whole and the discussions we have.
The ceilidh at the end will be a celebration of our work, of the season, and it’ll be a lively (digital) event we’ll plan together. I envision the online ceilidh being a sharing, like the origins of the word. With folk turning up and reading their work, or sharing a few lines/paragraphs from some of their favourite work, doing a turn. If they play an instrument, a tune would be very welcome. I’m really happy for the organisation of the course ceilidh to become a mini project for the people on the course too – where we make the idea of what this ceilidh will look like together.
Especially in the autumn and winter with Scottish weather, it’ll be fantastic that travel can’t get in the way of a course I love doing, is a definite appeal. I love that Moniack Mhor is thinking into the imaginative, brilliant spaces that these more digital days are encouraging. And I’m thrilled to be able to teach a course over two months. This time will allow us to build something that is steady, intense and also has a slow-time appeal of getting to know our work, other writers, and our own writing processes. I look forward to working with all the writers who come to the course.
For me, online events and courses have been incredibly important over the past year and a half. I’ve taken a botany course, taught many writing classes, hosted and taken part in events that had attendees from around the world, and even took a massive free course on the science of happiness. The online options for learning and connecting have been expansive for me. I love face to face teaching and events (and how much do I miss hugs!), but I’ve found that there are so many brilliant benefits of online courses and they open up access to a lot of people who might have caring responsibilities, chronic illness, and others for who travel might be difficult or time consuming. They can be a dream for introverts everywhere! There’s a lovely element where you just show up for the time of the class and log back off, possibly giving you more time and space for your writing.”
Moniack Mhor Online – Novel Writing: A season of writing with Elizabeth Reeder begins on 25th October 2021. Further information is available here.