Happy (belated) birthday, Your Majesty

Happy (belated) birthday, Your Majesty

As I’m writing about recent work I have done, this project seems timely… A few months ago, Scripture Union’s team in the south east of England approached me about writing for the Queen! They were working with Hope, LICC and Bible Society to create a schools’ version of a resource to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. I was sent the text of the book that Hope, LICC and Bible Society had written and asked to select material and write extra bits and pieces to put together a 12-page booklet for people to use in primary schools.

The book focused on the text of the Queen’s Christmas messages over the years. We don’t know much about the Queen’s opinions on politics, as she tries to remain neutral, but her Christmas messages are one of the few things that she writes herself and they clearly show one part of her life: her faith. It was this that the partner organisations were seeking to help people uncover as the Queen reached this milestone birthday.

It was quite a task to slim down all the excellent material that the authors of the main book had written, but arranging some of the most interesting facts, stories and photographs into three or four different categories helped everything fall into place. I added in some questions to help children think about these different categories for themselves, as well as selecting extracts from the messages themselves. Throw in some great infographics from the designer and the book looks quite good. In fact, it seems to have gone down so well that a reprint is on the way!

If you want to get your hands on the book (celebrations go on into June), then go to Scripture Union’s website. And if you’ve got a similar job that needs doing, get in touch!

What can Creative Daydream do for you?

What can Creative Daydream do for you?

OK, it’s been a while. I haven’t blogged for a few months, so I’m back! I thought it was high time that I wrote about some projects I have recently worked on, so that you had some idea of what I could do for you!

The last six months have been busy, with a wide range of projects making their way onto my desk…

Project managing an exhibition stand: over the past two years, I have put together the concept and graphics for Scripture Union‘s exhibition stand at the Hand in Hand Conference, and then used those to create stands for other exhibitions too. 2016 was no different and, in early February, I made my way to Eastbourne with a mix of new and repurposed graphics stands, leaflets and giveaways. Over the weekend, I also worked on the stand and it was great to talk to children’s workers from across the country. One of the resources the stand was promoting was…

Guardians of Ancora: my writing of this ground-breaking Bible reading game app for children has continued. I’ve been part of the team for about three years now and it’s great to see the game in action. Recent work has included writing scripts for the Easter parts of the game as well as putting together lots of back story to appear on the revamped Guardians of Ancora supporting website.

Editorial project management: it’s been good to work with a former colleague, Nina Marcel, on resources produced by Christian Education. I was brought in to help out with ongoing projects, RE Ideas and Essential RE, while Nina focused on an enormous, brand new series of RE resources for schools.

Rewriting a training course: over the past two years, I have delivered a training course in children’s ministry for the Diocese of London. This year, it was decided that the course needed a revamp, to include new elements and reshuffle the existing new ministry. So, I rewrote the material, created new PowerPoint presentations and handouts, and then delivered the new course to the good children’s workers of Neasden. That course proved invaluable in refining the new parts of the material. Onward to courses in Twickenham, Shadwell, Chelsea and Tottenham!

Writing a magazine column: in 2016, the magazine of the Mother’s Union, called Families First, features a column written by me! Being a single man with no children, this seems an unlikely choice, but it’s going well so far. Most of the columns seem to include focusing on my own ineptitude, but hopefully despite this, they will help to bridge the gaps that can often open up between single people and parents.

Premier Childrenswork: I’ve extended my time on Premier Childrenswork to include some commissioning and subbing work, on top of the writing responsibilities I’ve had for the past three years. It’s been enjoyable to get more involved in the work of this magazine.

If anything here makes you think I might be the right person for a job you need doing, then get in touch!

Highgate, Halloween and High-frequency High Jinx

Highgate, Halloween and High-frequency High Jinx

I’ve just realised how long it has been since I updated my blog, how very lazy of me. I have been quite busy, mind you, so that’s some sort of excuse. I thought I’d fill you in on the kind of things I’ve been getting up to. Who knows, maybe it might spark an idea that I could make happen for you!

In Highgate, I delivered my first full Academy Basics course for the Diocese of London. This was with a  bunch of willing and enthusiastic children’s workers from St Michael’s Church and surrounding parishes. I had a great time, exploring different aspects of working with children, and giving people a chance to try some new stuff out. One group came up with a Prodigal Son rap that deserves a wider audience – if only we’d filmed it! The Academy Basics course is for those who are at the start of their children’s ministry journey, and covers things like learning styles, storytelling and managing difficult behaviour. Later in the year, I’ve got more courses in Poplar, Kensal Rise and Fulham.

I’ve also put together part of a Halloween/Light Party resource pack for Scripture Union, commissioning writers and writing copy to help churches make intelligent use of Halloween. That comes out very soon, check it out here.

A new client, FEBA, brought the chance to work on some children’s resources and to create a radio character called Roger. It was good to work for them and to renew a working relationship with Simeon Whiting, another Christian charity worker turned freelancer. Look out for the FEBA pack soon on their website.

There’s been lots of other things happening – proofing fundraising and supporter communications for Shooting Star Chase, editing a book called @BibleIntro for Authentic Media, writing and commissioning blog posts for the Diocese of London as well as writing their children’s ministry newsletter, my ongoing work with Premier Childrenswork, compiling a youth book for BRF… the list is pleasingly varied 🙂

If you have anything that you think I might be able to help with, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Gelatin-based confectionery and other lessons

Gelatin-based confectionery and other lessons

Well, Creative Daydream has been going for 18 months and I’ve learnt quite a lot. Particularly:

1 I have little self-control if there’s an open bag of marshmallows in the house.

2 If you’re going to be part of a meeting via Skype, you’ll spend an hour staring at the top of people’s heads.

3 It’s not going to go well if you put a TV programme on ‘in the background’.

4 Going to the supermarket at 10 on Monday morning means that you avoid the crowds, but also that the aisles will be populated with pensioners who stop suddenly for no apparent reason.

5 Searching iTunes for old Eurovision songs is not an acceptable way to spend the working day. (But you do rediscover beauties like this – I love a song with whistling…)

On the other hand, I’ve had a great time writing, editing, training and generally being creative for companies and organisations such as the Diocese of London, Dubit, Leprosy Mission, Dodo and Co, Shooting Star Chase and Childrenswork magazine. And I’m really looking forward to what the next 18 months might bring!

If you’ve got a project that requires a great way with words, a hundred ideas or a warm presenting style, then get in touch. What can Creative Daydream do for you?


Progress on the novel front

Progress on the novel front

A few months ago I blogged about writing a novel (well, rather ambitiously, I announced my intention to create a seven-book series). I have been writing since then, but I’ll admit that it’s not been very regular and I’ve only written 6,000 words so far! I’ve had so much other writing to do (both for work and stuff I do in my spare time), that fiction writing has been relegated to the ‘not yet’ pile of things to do.

So, I’m going to try and write a bit more regularly, and not view it as a luxury. And in November, I’m going to give National Novel Writing Month a go, particularly as all my theatrical productions will be over by then and I’ll have no rehearsals to go to. This is an approach where participants try to write a 50,000-word novel in a month! You can sign up on the website and get support and inspiration from others doing the same thing.

Doing something quickly like this may not produce the most well-tuned piece of work, but it certainly focuses your mind and stops you getting bogged down in small details. Once words are down on paper (or on screen), then you can go back and cut, edit, rewrite, expand, kill off, resurrect…

There are times when it’s good to look at detail and decide on the minutiae, but at other times, we just need to get things done. Where are you at?

PS Look out for Equestus, City of the Sea soon…

What can we do together?

It’s been great to work with some new clients over the last few weeks. The Leprosy Mission Trading supports the Leprosy Mission’s work with those suffering from leprosy across the world. I’ve written part of an Easter fun book for the Leprosy Mission catalogue, provisionally called Easter Fun – look out for that one in their brochure!

Shooting Star Chase is a children’s hospice charity supporting families in south-west London, Surrey and West Sussex. I’ll be taking on some editorial work with their communications team.

Both are top charities, helping people in need in different contexts. It’s been a joy to join them in their work. Check them out!

Leprosy Mission: www.leprosymission.org.uk
Shooting Star Chase: www.shootingstarchase.org.uk

But what about your business? Could I help you with writing, editorial or creative consultancy? If so, get in touch!