A course to inspire you to write your memories
You want to write the story of your own narrative. You want to write the story of who you are in your own voice. You want a map of it; something you can turn to or direct your children towards. You want to write of the moments that shaped you, the ones you remember, before you forget. Maybe you just want to learn to feel comfortable, writing in your own voice, your own skin, looking in.
Postcards Home is a six-week online writing course to inspire you to write your memories, to start to write the stories that make you. The stories of your childhood, your past, your history, your version of events, with a view to writing first-person essays and blog posts and perhaps maybe even your very own personal memoir to write one day. It’s a course designed for your enjoyment, to leave you moved enough to want to write in your very own voice. A course to inspire you to fall in love with writing and the world it might just open up to let you in.
As with all my writing and indeed all my writing courses, I have poured my heart into it and written what I have felt like I have needed to hear myself. It has been a delight to write. It feels sprightly; a refreshing way to shake out the writer’s block cobwebs. It sparkles. It feels like spring.
So often I receive emails from you, my readers, asking me how to start writing - literally how to begin. I hope Postcards Home offers up an answer, of sorts.
Postcards Home will inspire you to want to begin.
Aspiring writers tell me often they want to write a book. They tell me they want to write their family’s history or else they want to share the story of how they’ve survived something awful - a divorce, an illness, a dead-end job - and come out brighter, bolder, braver, on the other side. It’s good to dream big and I hope those books are indeed written one day. But while it’s good to dream big, it’s also good to start small. For one, it’s easier (for how can one write a book if one has never committed to writing before?) and for another, it’s more attainable too. Plan big, plan for a book from day one, and I’ll pass you writer’s block on a plate. But plan small, plan little by little, note by note, postcard by postcard, and before one summer’s out you might just have your first dozen blog posts outlined, or else several essay ideas to explore.
Postcards Home is not a course on writing a full-blown memoir, or how to structure something so vast. It is not that at all. Postcards Home is your inspiration. It is your starting place; the little seed from which something else might grow.
Designed to inspire
Postcards Home is a six-week course, designed as a series of short yet thought-provoking weekly essays exploring the importance of writing your own story, in your own voice, and gently guiding you to look to where you may begin. These essays have been written by me, in order to inspire you to want to write.
When I first dreamt up Postcards Home, I knew that I wanted to create a different sort of online course; a course that did not feel like a course.
And so, I see Postcards Home as an equivalent of a special treat you’d prioritise all for yourself; a solo trip to the movies or an afternoon spent browsing a beautiful art gallery all alone. Or perhaps a summer spa day with a good book, or a holiday for one. I wanted to write something that would enable you to revel in the pleasure of solitude. And so that is what I have tried to do. I have written something just for you.
It matters to me that Postcards Home is something you can turn to for enjoyment; something that does not feel like an obligation or a burden or extra workload that you end up struggling to fit in. That’s why there’s no private social media group here. That’s why I won’t ask you to submit a writing project or set you deadlines. That’s why I won’t be critiquing your work.
Instead, I want Postcards Home to remind you how much you love writing for the sake of writing. I want it to inspire you to finally begin, and to do so with a flourish. I want you to read the essays that comprise Postcards Home, perhaps with a notebook by your side, if that just so happens to feel right, and I want you to begin to feel yourself unfurl, little by little, begin to feel that flicker of excitement knowing that perhaps you can write the story of you. I want you to feel excited by the possibilities of writing the stories that only you can tell. I want you to feel.
We start here.
What’s the difference between Postcards Home & The Quiet Words?
Well, if The Quiet Words is a broody, intense and pensive autumn spent holed up in a writer's retreat furrowing away productively, then Postcards Home is a spring bike ride with a stop to drink pink lemonade and scribble notes of sweet-nothings along the way. If this still doesn't make sense to you, I guess what I'm saying is: Postcards Home is lighter and more playful than The Quiet Words - but it is no less inspiring. Here's another way: if The Quiet Words is a writer wearing spectacles so lost in their work, they forget what time it is, then Postcards Home is a writer lying upon a picnic blanket thrown over the grass, sandals kicked to one side, a bowl of strawberries on the other.
The Quiet Words remains my flagship course, one I poured my heart into and am deeply proud of (you may read what others had to say about it here), and while it is gentle, it is also challenging. And I'll admit it, I make demands. My personal critiques and edits on my students' written work, gleaned both from my experience as an author and as a journalist with an editor's eye, is thorough and, well, picky - perhaps even annoyingly so. I know my students are grateful for this, but for a long time, I have also wanted to create a course that bridges the gap, something to remind anyone and everyone who wants to write that writing is first and foremost a pleasurable pursuit. That there is joy in it, before there are prompts and deadlines.
If you want to feel renewed, if you want another prism through which to consider writing your memories, your non-fiction stories in first-person, then I hope Postcards Home will be for you. For that's what Postcards Home is; a way of looking through the light.
Postcards Home is priced at £145 and starts Monday, May 20th, 2019
This course if for you iF…
…you want to feel uplifted and inspired to spend the summer months ahead connecting with your creativity
… you have always wanted to write about yourself, about your experiences and your memories, your past and your present, but have never known how or where to even begin
…you want to find a way to capture fleeting moments from your present, before they slip through your fingers
… you want to gently find a way to write at your own pace
… you see writing as a creative hobby and you’d simply love to explore where that might go
… you love reading memoirs and have always secretly wished that you might one day write your own
Course content of weekly essays
Week one: On postcards; or staying in touch - on the importance of looking backwards, in order to look forwards.
Week two: Mini-memories, in note form - on the writer’s art of note-taking
Week three: The little things - on learning to look for details to bring your writing alive
Week four: A life lived in pictures - on looking for what is both in and out of focus for writing prompts
Week five: The beauty of the ordinary - on giving yourself permission to write about your everyday
Week six: Onwards - from postcards to vignettes to blogs, books and beyond
Why take a writing course with me?
I love writing in first-person and sharing my stories because first and foremost, it means I don’t forget them and secondly, my readers tell me they find little pieces of themselves in my words too. It’s this connection that makes writing so beautifully special. My first-person features have appeared extensively in numerous national publications including The Guardian and The Times and they also appear weekly, right here, on my blog.
If my writing moves you, then perhaps I may inspire you - not to write like me, for your voice will always be your own - but to simply commit to paper your thoughts and your words that may weave into something else. Self-doubt has always plagued me and sometimes it still does but finding something I am good at, writing creatively, has helped me grow. Writing has brought me so much joy and a quiet, inner strength that helps me stay grounded. I would love to be able to pass that along to you.
I am also an award-winning published author of short stories represented by the literary agency Bell, Lomax Moreton, and a former national newspaper journalist for the Guardian and Observer. My freelance work has appeared regularly in numerous national publications, including The Times, The Independent, New Statesman and Psychologies magazine. Meanwhile, here's what a few people have said about my book, In Spite of Oceans.
"Memorable and moving." The Observer
"Huma Qureshi's stories shine a bright light into hidden corners; they ring with a resonance that remains with you after louder and showier narratives have faded." Roopa Farooki, acclaimed novelist
"A gifted writer; a remarkable insight into the human experience." Desi Blitz
Postcards Home is a six-week online course that costs £145. It comprises a series of weekly original, inspiring and thought-provoking essays exploring first-person, non-fiction writing, designed to inspire you to begin to write.
The course will go live on Our Story Time on Monday, May 20th 2019 and will end on Monday, June 24th 2019. Upon payment, you will be prompted to sign up to Postcards Home via Memberspace. Upon log in, you will be able to access the course material as it is released each week.
One essay will be released each week.
In keeping with my vision of Postcards Home, there are no deadlines and there are no writing projects to submit. Unlike most courses, there is no Facebook group either, for the reason that I find this sort of writing, writing about oneself, to be deeply personal and I don’t want to over burden you by making you feel as though you have to share with people you don’t know on social media.
If you see your writing as more than a creative pastime and would like to work harder at crafting it, learning and practising writing techniques, then it may be that The Quiet Words, my flagship writing course spread over eight weeks, is better suited to you than Postcards Home. The Quiet Words includes weekly modules, a writing project to submit to deadline and, of most value, personal individual and detailed feedback from me on your writing. Read more about The Quiet Words here. If you are yet more serious about your writing still, you are welcome to consider my 12-week one-on-one writing scheme, Writing Friends.