Writing Down Deep; an Alchemy of the Writing Life (Paperback)
(There is also a hardback edition of Writing Down Deep)
Writing Down Deep; an Alchemy of the Writing Life will help you become the writer you want to be, developing your own story and values along the path.
Written as a labour of love over three years, many of the ideas were trialled in blogs and online courses, before being honed and rewritten for the book.
This is a book for writers who want to dive deeply into their creative flow and into the extraordinary power of writing to affect individuals and the world. Whether you are a blogger writing articles, a memoirist, poet or novelist, writing is magical. It offers perspective shifts, leaps of imagination and connections that are vital to how we live at every level. The world is storied and those who tell stories of every kind, have a unique role and responsibility. Story (including poetry, fiction and nonfiction) is vital to human survival.
This book is for wild idealists and alchemists of the imagination who believe that writing is so powerful that it should transform us as we push the boundaries of our craft. This book is for those who see writing as a radical act of connection with all of life.
It is a companion on the quest and, as such, you can read it straight through or slowly; make the rhythm suit you. It has five main sections that are interspersed around shorter, seasonal sections.
- Section 1, ‘Craving the Writing Life’, is an introduction to our motivation as writers and the power of story.
- Section 2, ‘The Mind-set of the Writer’, explores how we build on this to establish an evolving practice of writing, from how we keep in touch with the subconscious writer to how we keep on writing and improving.
- This leads into Section 3, ‘The Evolution of Your Writing Process’, in which we’ll examine more of the mechanics of writing and deepening our writing lives.
- Section 4, ‘Embodying the Writing Life’, takes all of this and anchors it in the physical world and in your embodiment of your writing.
- Section 5, ‘Writing the Soul’, looks at how creativity, imagination, wonder and personal mythology transform both the work we do and the people we become as writers, body and soul.
- Section 6, ‘Writing Your Story’, brings the themes of the book together: what story do you want to write? What story do you want to become?
The book is packed with prompts, inspiration and writing exercises. These are not mechanical or ‘how to’ exercises but aimed at challenging us to dig deeply into our writing processes and writing lives. Woven throughout are seasonal pauses to help you design your own writing retreats.
You can read a blog about the genesis of the book here.
Jan Fortune was born in Middlesbrough and grew up in Redcar. She read theology at Cambridge and completed a doctorate in feminist theology at Exeter University. Jan has worked as a teacher, priest (ordained at the first ordination of women to the CofE) and charity director. She is the founding editor of Cinnamon Press and has edited around 400 books and led numerous creative writing courses in the Wales, the UK (including courses for Arvon and Ty Newydd), Spain, France, and online. She mentors writers from beginners to highly experienced, across genres and hosts a writing community, Kith, that includes weekly prompts, courses and inspiriation for the writing life via her site Becoming a Different Story.
Her previous publications include non-fiction titles in alternative education and parenting; the novels Dear Ceridwen and Coming Home. Her previous poetry collections include Particles of Life (BlueChrome), Slate Voices (a collaborative collection with Mavis Gulliver), Stale Bread & Miracles, Edge (a companion to Adam Craig’s Year W), and Turn/Return, a pamphlet inspired by Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards. Her most work is the Casilda Trilogy of novels, This is the End of the Story, A Remedy for All Things and For Hope Is Always Born, and the spin-off, stand-alone novel Saoirse’s Crossing.
Her cross-over novels re-envisaging the Arthurian legends in a near-future authoritarian UK are The Standing Ground (originally published in 2008 and being relaunched in a new edition in autumn 2021) and The Roots of the Ground, written during the first UK lockdown as a live project with a group of writers as daily audience for first draft readings, and also due out in autumn 2021.
She is currently working on a haiku and lyric sequence tracking the seasons of a forest.
Jan studied aromatherapy with the Well School, is a yoga nidrā teacher with the Independent Yoga Nidrā Network and is training as a medical herbalist. She lives in a surviving area of ancient forest in Finistère, Brittany.