Discover the positive power of creative writing
Award-winning author, CSM alumna and UAL Creative Writing teacher Elise Valmorbida launched her latest published work, The Happy Writing Book: Discover the Positive Power of Creative Writing. Elise’s experience, 20+ years as a practitioner and teacher, gives her a firm belief that creative writing can deepen your appreciation of life, and empower you as an agent of positive change in the world.
We caught up with her to talk about her new book, career and overcoming writer's block.
Elise’s love for writing started very early on. She spent her childhood writing illustrated poems and tried writing a novel when she was 12 years old. Her first degree was English Literature and then she studied Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins.
While working as a creative director at an international branding agency, she joined an evening class in creative writing.
"Some years later, I quit the ‘the proper job’ to launch my first novel, Matilde Waltzing, much of which was written on the bus, traffic jams to and from work, and in the leftovers of holidays or weekends. I became self-employed to make time to write more."
The Happy Writing Book
The Happy Writing book is a guide to writing well, with positive side effects. It’s for seasoned writers and aspiring writers, and it’s for non-writers who’d like to enhance their creativity or develop their creative practice in another field. After all, writing well is a useful skill for most careers.
"I started the first pages of the manuscript more than 15 years ago. I’ve been adding to it, piece by piece, between novels and day-jobs, ever since, so it’s a work of many layers. And it’s eclectic, drawing on my experience of art, design, languages and filmmaking, not just creative writing. I also tap into music, philosophy, psychology, tai chi, literary criticism and science. It’s a mix of provocation and meditation, with plenty of practical tips, prompts and exercises."
The book also features insights from other creatives, famous and non-famous. Even some of her CSM students made it into the mix.
Creative writing and wellbeing
Elise believes Creative writing is more than writing.
"It took me a while to realise that creative writing was having a profound and positive effect on my life. This can be said of other creative practices, if you give time to them, but there’s something uniquely powerful about making sense of the chaos of experience through words, expressing and refining thought, developing ideas and communicating effectively with others."
How to overcome writer’s block
Easier said than done but start writing. Elise explained to us that the best way to overcome writer’s block is to not let the blank page defeat you with its perfection.
"Once you start writing, you will see that ideas come. Feel free to write rubbish. Keep writing rubbish until you run out of words/rubbish. There’s often something interesting in the rubbish."
The Happy Writing Book is available at all the usual bookshops, online and offline. Make sure to check out Elise’s work. Take your first steps into creative writing, whether you are just starting out or planning your first novel, take a look at Elise’s upcoming course Creative Writing Fact or Fiction Intensive Online Short Course.