LEaD Writing Group – “I lay awake, unable to sleep, and all because…”

A pencil drawing by Rembrandt of a woman lying awake in bed (Circa 1635-1640).
A woman lying awake in bed – Rembrandt (Circa 1635-1640)

Last week saw the monthly meeting of the LEaD Writing Group. This is a brief account of the proceedings and an invitation to join us.

As usual, we started with a quick writing activity to introduce an exercise that participants can use to develop their own or their students’ writing skills.

This month’s exercise was called ‘Starter Sentence’ (National Writing Project, no date) and works as follows. Take a starter sentence and use it as inspiration to write for 10 minutes. We used – “I lay awake, unable to sleep, and all because…” (Gillespie, 2013). How would you continue this?

Once our time was up we discussed how people had found the activity. There was an awareness that in this case, it was easy to get into the flow, but to develop the pieces more attention would be needed on the structure and use of words. It is important to reflect on the writing process to consider what is working for you and where improvements can be made.

After our brief warmer, we spent most of our time working on blog posts setting out ideas or experiences we wanted to share with our colleagues. Some folk were starting from scratch, whilst others wanted feedback and editing suggestions on almost complete pieces. It was great to see a mixture of new and old members. One of the new recruits suggested that it wasn’t clear that the group is open to anyone at City, not just members of LEaD. So, let me take this opportunity to invite all members of the City community to join the writing group. If you have ideas or experiences you would like to blog about but are not sure how to blog, then please join us.

We meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 13:00 in Room B310, in the University building.

The next session is on Wednesday 2nd August.

Also, if you would like a taste of what goes on at the LEaD Writing Group, come along to the sessions we are running on the 27th July at Develop@City. We’ll be in Room ELG05 at 12pm and 3pm.

To sign up to Develop@City follow this link. We look forward to seeing you soon.



Gillespie, A. (2013) Creative writing in the classroom: five top tips for teachers. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/sep/26/five-tips-creative-writing. (Accessed: 7 June 2017).

National Writing Project (no date) Quick writes: short exercises to ‘loosen the writing muscles’. Available at: http://www.nwp.org.uk/quick-writes.html. (Accessed: 7 June 2017).

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One thought on “LEaD Writing Group – “I lay awake, unable to sleep, and all because…”

  1. I lay awake, unable to sleep, and all because of the heat. It seeped into every pore I felt I had, and even some I didn’t know I had, hanging heavy in the air like a 1950s London fog. The shouting on the other side of the wall had subsided now, becoming more of a chorus of whimpers. What were they building in there, and how had it gone so badly wrong? The heat can’t have been helping.

    As the rotary blades of my ceiling fan whirred in slow motion, I grabbed under the bed for something that could slake this interminable thirst I had.

    (that was mine, anyway!)

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