This first episode looks at the importance of imagination and how to find ideas for stories:
It’s difficult to live in the modern day without being affected by the power of stories. We’re exposed to them constantly whether it’s reading a single tweet on social media, listening to the noise of twenty-four hour news or settling into a computer game.
As well as processing stories, we need to know how to tell them too. Whether we’re writing a business plan to clinch a deal, making friends in a queue, or explaining how we feel to the doctor on a visit to the surgery, we use stories not only to communicate ideas but to connect with each other. Storytelling is a vital element of being human. I would go as far as to say the development of our storytelling abilities is in some measure linked to how successful we are in life, whoever we are and whatever it is we want to achieve.
But, like any skill, storytelling needs practice, so the earlier we experiment with the form the better, especially when it comes to writing stories. School is the obvious place to start learning creative writing but a lot of the time it comes with high stakes - the end results are often graded and, unfortunately, grades can create labels that stick. I think you can only really become better at something by trying and failing, then trying again. Writing stories requires experimentation and practice to keep improving.
After mulling over how to create such a free and forgiving environment to help creative writing, I realised one exists already - it’s the home. So my goal is to turn each home into a creative hub, somewhere a family can nurture their creative writing skills or, at the very least, think about them. Why can’t families learn about writing stories together when they’re already so practised at telling them from breakfast through to bedtime?
So these podcasts are for households, for families in all locations and of all sizes and backgrounds to listen to and learn from at their own pace. You can listen to them as a family or individually, it’s up to you. However, the suggested exercises at the end of each podcast are designed to bring the family together for a 'creative workout'.
I’ve chosen to use podcasts rather than videos because I think the very act of listening is important for creative work. Listening means using particular parts of your brain, of exercising your imagination as you react and process what you hear. The advantage of podcasts is that you can listen to them in lots of different places, whatever you're doing. I’ve tried to make each episode short, no more than about fifteen minutes.
I hope the whole family finds these podcasts useful. They’re primarily aimed at families with children aged 8 and above. But this is only a guide. The podcasts aren’t taxing but they are informative. Most importantly, I hope they let you have some fun as a family. Creative writing is supposed to be enjoyable because the imagination is a door to anywhere you wish to go.