Paper Nations: Time to Write

Paper Nations is an arts organisation which commissions writers throughout the South West of England to create new work. Earlier this year, they ran a scheme called ‘Time to Write’ and invited writers who face particular barriers (time, money, location, opportunity) to apply for up to £1,000 to enable them to develop a writing project. The decision-making process at Paper Nations overlapped with the start of the Covid-19 lockdown and a decision was made to award a small commission to every writer who applied to the scheme, as well as the opportunity to take part in a year of writer development and mentorship, and to join an online writing community, if they choose.

I applied for a commission in order to fund some time to write and I am grateful to Paper Nations for this opportunity.  The commission asks for a creative response to isolation during this extraordinary period of time we’re living through.  I’m going to use my blog to document my process and to share some of the pieces of work I develop.

Although I’m not alone at the moment, because I live with my husband and our two children have been sent home from their respective universities, I’m isolated with my thoughts.  This has lead me to be more conscious about my own creative practice.  One thing I’ve noticed during this time of lockdown is the creative energy and satisfaction that sharing work provides.  For the past ten years I’ve been writing and publishing poetry – writing much more than publishing, as only a fraction of what I write is ever accepted anywhere.  I have chosen not to publish my creative work extensively on this blog, or in online social media channels, and have only submitted to online journals where  someone makes an editorial decision about what is accepted.  Work already published online is ineligible for most print journals and so I have held back in freely publishing, in order to give my work a chance of print publication.

However, during lockdown there seems little point in holding back.  In particular, the collages I’ve made recently using found natural materials and newspaper texts have required immediate publication.  I shared them as soon as I made them, first for MPT magazine in response to their online workshop,  and then for my own writing practice.  I’ve shared them on this blog in previous posts, and I’ve shared them all over social media, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  This is very unusual for me!

Working with fractured texts and natural materials  suits my current frame of mind and situation.  I have very little time alone now so sustained work on longer pieces of writing is more difficult to achieve.  I intend to make more collages for this commission and I will share them here.  Who knows, some other forms of writing might also decide to make an appearance.

Work in progress
Snippet of a collage I’m working on!

Do, please, let me know about your own creative projects and process during this strange time.

7 thoughts on “Paper Nations: Time to Write”

  1. I echo your experience of having less time alone during lock down as I am working from home and sharing the flat with my husband and our London-exile-adult-son since the end of March. I am therefore particularly grateful to have two fellow writers to meet up with each week (albeit on Zoom) to talk about reading and our writing and to peer critique each other’s work. This absolutely helps me focus to at least produce drafts of new work. (Thanks Peter & John.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is brilliant to hear of this online support network you’re part of, Janet. I feel quite strongly that I don’t need an online group at the moment – probably because I’m craving time alone. I feel relieved that it’s OK to say that and I was glad that Paper Nations are keen to respect individual writer’s needs. Sending strength to your pen! x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting comments about your lockdown practice Josephine. Being isolated in thoughts resonated with me as I have had almost no conversations in reality with poet and other friends, and no one shares my house (the cat, and what he brings in that’s it!). Aside from that it’s been conversations with neighbours or others when I’m out walking – not quite the same.
    However I have been in a good zone for writing it seems, both poetry and prose, starting just before NaPoWriMo, doing lots of reflecting. This has been helped by agreeing to do a Zoom interview yesterday under the Leeds Nowt but Verse series, and being on a WEA 10-week virtual course, one for which I normally travel to Hebden Bridge, making it a nice day out from here, on the train.
    I think the biggest barrier has been an obsession with getting food via other people, then struggling with online ordering slots lately (I have a chronic, fluctuating condition). It takes up a lot of headspace, and time. The upside is that I am retired and don’t have a child to care for any more – well, not physically. But too far away to visit him.
    All in all a privileged position.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are welcomed

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.