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Professional Development – Flexing your Writing Muscles

28 June @ 10:00 - 11:30 BST

Virtual Event Virtual Event

A participatory, practical session with writing time built in. Stimulus exercises to help participants move beyond the blank page. General enough for writers of fiction, creative non-fiction or poetry. Hosted by SoA Members Kate Tough and Helen Sedgwick.




  • Welcome, introduction from Lilly Brend-Fish, Events and Outreach Assistant, SoA (2 mins)
  • Part 1 (30 mins)
  • Comfort Break (10 mins)
  • Part 2 (30 mins)
  • Q&A with audience and audience sharing their own tips (10 mins)
  • Closing comments from Lilly Brend-Fish, SoA (2 mins)



Who is this workshop for?

This participatory, practical session will benefit any creative writer or poet who needs a nudge to move beyond the blank page and/or who wants to explore new angles on a current project.



What will this workshop cover?

The session includes a series of short writing tasks which could also be developed afterwards, for example to:

  • Warm up the imagination
  • Gain deeper knowledge of a character or poetic persona
  • Springboard from a personal experience into prose or poetry
  • Share thoughts or extracts from the exercises (not compulsory, don’t worry!)



Send us your questions in advance

If you would like to send questions in advance, email lbrendfish@societyofauthors.org  with ‘Flexing Writing Muscles’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many as we can from the audience on the day.



The line -up


Helen Sedgwick- author

Helen Sedgwick is a multi-genre author and former research physicist. Her novels include The Comet Seekers, The Growing Season, and The Burrowhead Mysteries crime trilogy. She has been shortlisted for the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year, and is currently the Creative Scotland Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow.

Website www.helensedgwick.com  | Twitter @helensedgwick | Instagram @helensedgwickauthor


Kate Tough – author

In 2019, Abacus published Kate Tough’s novel and her work featured in Makar/Unmakar: Twelve Contemporary Poets in Scotland. She was an invited poet at the Stanza Festival 2021, and her pamphlet tilt-shift was Runner Up in the Callum Macdonald Award, 2017. Kate’s been selected for several writers’ bursaries and residencies.

Website:  www.katetough.com



Need to know

Before the event
  • Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with the Zoom link
  • If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive in your inbox, please check your junk/spam email folder
  • Please add events@societyofauthors.org to your Safe Senders list so you receive our confirmation, and reminder emails
During the event
  • This online event will take place on Zoom Webinar; you will not be visible on screen but will be able ask questions via the Q&A function or interact via the chat box
  • This event will be recorded but you won’t be on screen
  • Attendees have the option to turn on the live transcript option
  • This event is 90 minutes
After the event
  • Hashtag for this event: #SoAatHome
  • You’ll be able to catch the recording on our Vimeo channel



Book your place by using the registration below.

All SoA @ Home Festival Professional Development sessions are free to SoA Members but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE


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Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.


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20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.



28 June
10:00 - 11:30 BST
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Sophia A Jackson