Does the Surge include mentoring or teaching on the writing craft? No. The Surge is an aid to making your work more inspiring and productive. It’s more about how you work – e.g. controlling fear, chaos and creative ennui, putting practical plans in place to break your work into achievable chunks - than what you work on. The content is up to you.
What if I can’t be online 8-9am or 6-7pm? That’s fine – you can post your check-ins whenever your day begins and ends. Some participants prefer to do the morning questions the night before, for example. However, the two time-slots are the only times Charlotte and others will be online to answer queries and respond to posts in ‘real’ time.
Can I share my creative work with others for feedback during the Surge? No. The Surge is about turbocharging your individual creative practice, building and practising the self-reliance and tenacity that is essential for every artist.
Can I still go to Pilates class / do the school drop-off / etc. if I need to? Yes. The beauty of the Surge is that you determine the parameters and how much ‘outside world’ you allow in. The more you separate from the normal demands of living, the more you’ll get done, but of course there are essential commitments that can’t be put off and you can build these into your time. However, to see any real benefit you do need to seriously commit to stepping back from normal daily activities. It’s a retreat, after all …
Do we talk via Skype, video or phone conferencing? What’s the technology? All communications during the Surge are in writing, using a simple and effective online platform called Basecamp. This removes the stress of unreliable internet connections and provides complete flexibility for your own timing in checking in each day.
If I have a problem with my project can I talk to Charlotte privately during the Surge? Probably not. While the work done is up to the individual, the Surge creates a small but supportive creative community for four days, so unless there’s a serious emergency it’s important that commentary and feedback takes place in the group setting. If you have a challenge it’s very likely others will too, and they’ll be able to help you address it.
I’m a painter / filmmaker / composer / academic. Can I take part, or is it only for writers? All are welcome! Participants so far have been writers, but anyone at work on a substantial creative project is welcome.
I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a creative project but have not had the time or the nerve to start. Will the Surge help me begin? No. Working alone for long periods can be confronting even for very experienced practitioners, and if you’re a complete beginner the Surge could be damaging for you. I’d advise joining a traditional face-to-face beginner’s class to get you started. The Surge is best for those with at least one year’s devotion to their craft under the belt.
My art is dealing with upsetting / distressing territory. What if I really start to freak out? While many artists work in areas that are psychologically difficult, it is important to recognise that Charlotte has no counselling expertise and the Surge is an arts retreat, not a therapeutic tool. All participants must agree to having concrete, ready and available options for psychosocial support outside the group to turn to if necessary, and if Charlotte feels your needs are tipping more towards therapeutic than artistic support she will direct you to those options.