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Finding my voice – on a writing retreat in Portugal

If there is something I learnt about myself during the recent Sozo Arts writing course with Judi Goodwin, it´s
that “I don´t need to get it right, just get it written!” So here I am, a week after full immersion
of ‘Unleash your writing power’, putting pen to paper and enjoying my new-found creative freedom.
I was chuffed to find that not only did I have an ‘inner voice,’ but that it was happy to speak
out… most of the time!

Personally I grasped two main things, that I don´t need to perfect my writing, so I can leave the inner critic out of the equation, just as well, as the critic was starting to feel a bit loathsome! Judi, at all times, emphasised the positive rather than the negative which was so refreshing. There was something cathartic, emotional and challenging about
digging deep into our souls, finding our voice, and conversely listening to others reading their stories. This listening to others made wake up to a new compassion and empathy for others. Simply put the course was powerful!

Judi Goodwin who originally created this course ´because she wanted to go on a similar one herself,´ delivered the course expertly.   It  wasn´t a course in grammar, punctuation or winning writing devices. It was a course in unleashing each person to their full creative potential and consequently  their written voice was from the heart. I can certainly vouch for the fact that I found my voice, and now that I have,  I hope sincerely that I am  not going to hide it!

The course delegates were a fabulous group, and we connected perfectly. It seemed as if we had rubbed shoulders with each other for years.   It´s great to know that we are all keeping in touch in some shape or form

Meanwhile, as hosts for Sozo Arts, Kit and I  endeavoured to ensure that our guests ate in style.  The restaurants   were personally selected not just for food quality and service, but also for atmosphere, variety and  location.


It´s always tricky knowing how much ‘extra activity our guests want to indulge in, but it has often been noticed in evaluation that guests do like the option of extra activities in addition to the creative courses.  So, on this occasion we offered a personally guided tour of Obidos,  organised walks and a tile painting workshop led by Kit Jennings.  Additionally, we changed venue from the Sozo studio , for variety, to the local Casa Cultura, which gave delegates a glimpse of local community life.  

Finally, not forgetting that the Portuguese have a passion for literature. Fernando Pessoa  (born June 13, 1888, Lisbon, Port.—died Nov. 30, 1935, Lisbon),  is hailed as one of the greatest Portuguese poets, whose Modernist work gave Portuguese literature European significance. The Obidos festival of literature runs 19 to 29 October, 2017.

We are already on the cusp of planning next year´s Creative Writing Courses. We wish to rerun the highly successful Unleash your writing power, with Judi Goodwin .  Possibly,  ´writing a novel´ with lecturer Kylie Fitzpatrick.  We look forward to having them back!

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