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This taster unit includes three activities that will help you develop your use of memory, observation and your senses. The aim is to develop your perceptual abilities, which really just means how you see and think about the world around you. You will be able to build your capacity to see detail in the world. You will be encouraged to start seeing the familiar in a new way and to make good use of your own personal history.

Use your life experiences

Creative writing courses often offer the advice ‘write what you know’. This is good advice, but what exactly does it mean? Many writers use their life experiences – their memories and their everyday perceptions and ideas – as a source for their fiction or poetry, as well as for their autobiographies and memoirs. Yet these experiences aren't necessarily extraordinary in themselves. You don't have to have led an unusual or exotic life in order to write. You do, however, need to raise your level of perception above the ordinary. Writing what you know means being aware of your own world, both past and present, in as full a way as possible.

These activities will briefly introduce some of the ways in which you might ‘know’ the world around you. By looking at the commonplace details of your life in a different way, using your sensory perceptions and learning to use your own memories, you will be exercising certain writing muscles, ones that need regular flexing. In this way you may discover you know more than you thought.

Now, have a go at writing what you know by clicking on Try this: Write what you know.

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