This new project aims to get more people in Liverpool writing during lockdown
3 years ago
A new project has launched to get Liverpool writing in lockdown.
Skywriters has been started by Natalie Denny who hopes to give people a platform, and the encouragement, to put their thoughts and feelings into words.
She explains: “Skywriters was born out of the pandemic because lots of people are really impacted by isolation, so it was this idea of using writing as a way of lifting spirits, lifting hearts and lifting heads.
“I loved the thought of creating a community of people – individuals, groups and businesses – who could write their hopes, dreams and aspirations, to lift themselves when we’re all going through a difficult time.”
Natalie, who lives in West Derby, is a writer herself and currently works as community engagement manager for Eureka! Mersey, the new museum which is due to open in Wirral next year.
She was looking for a creative way to help people feel better about themselves and realised that a writing community could be it.
Skywriters will happen in four stages, starting with a crowdfunded book which will appeal to adults and children to read separately or together as a bedtime story. That is planned for publication on World Book Day next year, March 4.
“The book will hopefully be really uplifting, it’ll have stories, poetry, and illustrations all about self-esteem,” she explains. “What I want to do is link it to learning so one chapter may be on grief, another one on friendship, and one on positivity. It can be read on its own or linked into learning sessions which I’ll be creating so parents and children can use it to delve a bit deeper.”
Natalie intends to extend those education sessions into community centres and schools, before launching stage two – a Young Skywriters programme and Young Black Skywriters programme, to offer individual coaching which will support writers to do what they want to do.
Skywriters third stage is education and training, focusing more on businesses and organisations and how they can use creative education to connect with communities and the people who are their customers.
Natalie says she’s excited to see how writing can bring people together, whether they just want to write for themselves or get involved in various programmes.
“I’m going to be doing daily writing exercises, on Instagram, and we’ll put them on the Skywriters website – we’ll give people five words and ask them to write whatever they want in any form, so poetry, prose or just stream of consciousness, but weaving those five words in.
“Then they can either share it with us and we can put it on the website or they can just keep it to themselves. It’s just a way of getting people engaged in writing as a form of expressing themselves and processing things.”
Some people won’t have written since they were at school, she says, but that shouldn’t put them off.
“I think people can sometimes worry and think they won’t be good enough or they remember being forced at school to write about something they didn’t care about. This isn’t like that, I’m not going to sit there with a red pen and go through things and it’s not about the grammar.
“There’s a magic in expressing yourself so even if you’re worried about spelling things wrong or the comma going in the wrong place, that isn’t something we’re interested in. It’s about using writing as a way to connect to ourselves and to other people.”
Natalie hopes Skywriters will be something people will find easy to be a part of because it doesn’t require any equipment or pre-planning.
“Not everything people suggest in lockdown is practical for everybody,” she says. “For instance, if you’re going through mental health issues then getting all the ingredients together to bake banana bread might not happen but this is something you can do with the bare minimum. You don’t even need pen and paper, you can do it on notes on your phone, so a lot of barriers are removed.
“This is going to be a very different lockdown, lots of people are already struggling and feeling isolated, so with Skywriters we want to provide a little something to help people get through that. It might not be for everyone, but if you can pick up a pen or a phone then you can do this with us.
“Skywriters isn’t just an organisation, it’s a community – we want people to feel part of it, because they write the things that are in their head, they’ve created something, and they’re proud of that. It’s one way can get through this together rather than on our own.”