Skip to main content

19th September 2019

Hull 14-16 College student has taken part in a creative writing workshop ran by First Story.

Last term Sally Sanchez was involved with the First Story project, an extra-curricular creative writing opportunity for young people that aims to expand their horizons and raises aspirations.

First Story gives students the chance to develop their creative writing skills, allowing them to thrive in education and in life.

The project was brought to the 14-16 College last academic year. Every Monday, students could choose to attend in replacement of their last lesson.

A tutor from First Story ran the sessions, teaching students about creative writing and how to generate new thoughts and ideas.

Towards the end of the project, each learner was offered the chance to go on a writer's retreat, but in order to be eligible they had to submit a short piece of writing, detailing why the retreat would benefit them.

Overall, 60 schools from across the country submitted pieces from their learners with just 16 making the final cut. Luckily, Sally’s entry made the shortlist and she was invited to the week-long retreat over the summer break.

The retreat was held at Arvon Lumb Bank, once the home of poet and writer Ted Hughes. The house is filled with novels, potery and portraits and is surrounded by 20 acres of steep woodland; the perfect place to encourage inspiration.

When asked about why she got involved with the project, Sally said “I really enjoy writing. It’s a way to express how I feel and to make other people aware of different situations, such as mental health or veganism.”

“I want to progress and study creative writing at college and university, so I thought the project would help.”

“The project honestly changed my life. I didn’t expect it to have such an effect on me, but it did. The whole experience opened my eyes and has inspired me to write even more! Now I’m writing every day.”

The retreat was an opportunity for students from all over the country to get together and share their skills. Sally heard about other people's work and picked up different skills and techniques along the way.

She added “It was great to learn from others and discover how a different spin could be put on my work. I am very confident and committed to writing, but I learnt so much from been surrounded by other creative writers. It gave me a completely different perspective.”

Here is Sally's submission to the writers retreat.

I put so much into my work, of myself and everything I know, that it feels like it's alive, certainly to me. That's what so many people have said upon reading my work, that it feels like they're there, it feels alive.

Writing to me, is an art, it's magic. Through some really rough years the worlds in my head have been the only thing to keep me sane. Even just one poem is a whole world, there is so much to one simple sounding sentence in what I write, everything has meaning and depth.

Due to money, opportunities like this residential and First Story don't come around too often, and actually, First Story has been the first time I've gotten to talk to an experienced writer, and socialise with people who are actually interested in writing.

First Story has been really encouraging for me, I don't feel like the way I write, what I write about, and any of my methods are one of a kind anymore, and I have more confidence in what I create. There were people who worked with us at my college, from First Story and not, that were really inspirational and that has meant a lot.

Writing is really important to me, and that's why I feel like this residential will be really beneficial. These kinds of opportunities are very rare.

I know I have only just scraped the surface of what writing is. I feel what it means, which is natural, but there are so many things I know I'm missing out on, certain techniques, that by making my way around the community and meeting other people with their own take on things, I could improve on.