Less-Stress discovered Gemma Seltzer and her Write & Shine workshops when we began looking into our #EarlyMorningLondon project. The project aims to find events and businesses that offer services and options for Londoners in those couple of hours before work (Check out our #EarlyMorningLondon on Instagram too). Write & Shine is a series of early morning and online workshops for writers and those who want to use writing to enhance their lives.
We spoke to Gemma about what she does, what inspires her and her London-life.
What do you do?
I run Write & Shine, a programme of early morning creative writing activities. We offer online writing courses and workshops in peaceful London locations. Mornings are peak creativity time for me and I want to share my love of the first part of the day with others. Acknowledging how busy we all are, and how so many of us want more creativity in our lives, I gather people to write before the working day begins.
What is your greatest joy?
Rising at dawn to watch the sunrise, with a hot cup of tea in my hand. There’s a great quote from Toni Morrison’s Paris Review interview that I like. She says,
“I always get up and make a cup of coffee while it is still dark—it must be dark—and then I drink the coffee and watch the light come. For me, light is the signal in the transition. It’s not being in the light, it’s being there before it arrives. It enables me, in some sense.” (Toni Morrison, The Art of Fiction No. 134, The Paris Review)
Her words are really meaningful to me. How she claimed the morning as her own, and acknowledged the sunrise as a prompt to begin the creative work.
Our bodies are all different, and not everyone is bright in the morning. For me, waking early to watch the daylight arrive is joyful.
Do you follow your own advice?
As much as I can! That is, waking up early to write. Sometimes I need to use the first hours of the day to complete project work and answer emails, but I try to keep it clear for writing. Research that shows we’re more creative in the morning. When we wake, we’re incredibly sensitive to the sights and sounds of our environment. I really think that it’s the best time to think and imagine, with afternoons better for editing and critiquing. Even if I know I have to dash out of the door for meetings or events, I still have a tendency to start the day with a short meditation practice, then freewriting and filling a few pages of my notebook with rough, flowing nonsense.
A week never goes by without…?
Making plans, creating elaborate to do lists, drafting new pieces of writing, coffee, watching the birds jig about on the trees outside my window, playing on my typewriter, a couple of good yoga sessions, workshops, daydreaming, and reading, reading, reading.
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