Writing in Happy Valley
Set in a dramatic, steep-sided valley, Hebden Bridge is the perfect location for stories - both fictional and our own.
Hebden Bridge, the Yorkshire town we live in has an oversized literary reputation and is home to many acclaimed writers and artists. It’s where our own path to creativity began when Bec got a job running a writing retreat centre for Arvon, the former home of poet laureate Ted Hughes.
That story opens our book, with the words ‘this is going to be perfect.’ Life did not go quite to plan. However, in what now looks like a massive act of procrastination Bec ignited an obsession about how writers build sustainable writing habits.
One writer who has no problems getting down to it is the prolific and top-of-her-game UK scriptwriter Sally Wainwright. Hebden Bridge is the setting for her hugely popular TV drama Happy Valley - a programme some critics are saying is the best drama the BBC has ever produced. Quite a claim…
One of the main filming locations is our street. Lead character Sergeant Catherine Cawood is a neighbour of ours and over the last decade we’ve welcomed film crews and watched amazing actors from our doorstep (see our behind the scenes video from the finale).
We were lucky to interview Sally Wainwright back in 2014 and have reposted the article. Read about Sally Wainwright’s writing process.
If you’d like to hear what Bec learnt from managing a writers’ retreat centre and the many other insights we’ve gleaned as writers and from supporting writers, sign up for our online Q&A and ask us anything. We’ll be on hand to explore your writing productivity puzzles - or chat about Happy Valley.
That's all for now, keep writing.
Bec & Chris 🥰
PS. Grab a copy of the book in the UK, pre-order your copy if you're in the United States or Australia and New Zealand. You can also buy via Book Depository which ships globally.
PPS. Missed our last (Mailchimp) newsletter? Here's a link: Prioritising What Matters
Ask us anything
If you're reading Written or would like to find out more, you'll love our year of events, Q&As and workshops lined up to support you - each one themed around a chapter of the book.
Last month we hosted an event with bestselling writer Oliver Burkeman who wrote the foreword. This month, Bec will be sharing her expertise, how her writing-based obsessions first started and you'll get the chance to ask for her advice - all free. Save the date:
🗓️ February 21
⏰ 18.00 GMT
🔗 Link to the event
Happy Valley scriptwriter and director Sally Wainwright was recently interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme:
BBC: Did you have any idea that the nation would take [lead character] Catherine Cawood to their hearts in this way?
Wainwright: No. I don’t think you ever do. When you first start writing a show you hope they will and it’s gold dust when it happens. Whenever you make a show you put the same amount of effort into everything you ever do – some shows bomb and some shows don’t and you never really know until they’re out and there are people watching them and responding to them.
Links from others
#1. Lazy creativity: It’s Nice That releases its first lazy report which argues that laziness is the path to inspiration and offers insights how to harness it for your creative practice.
#2. LOL. This is brilliant from McSweeny’s: 'Is there a formula for being a good writer, you might ask? Yes, and it’s simple.'
#3. Make like a monk. Eric Barker reveals the six things that will make you more productive. Secrets from medieval monks and their distracting demons.
#4. Happier hour. Find out how former US secretary of state George Shultz got stuff done by allocating an hour for focus.
#5. Tranquility by Tuesday. Time tracking enthusiast Laura Vanderkam has a new book out and she’s doing lots of brilliant interviews and articles. Find out about the book and read her newsletter for more tranquil inspiration and links.
Links from us
➡️ We have just ten spots available on our four-week online writing RESET programme which starts this April. Get 25% off places when you sign up to the waiting list. Find out more here.
➡️ If you’d like to learn from Bec in person she’s running a writing day at the glorious Gladstone’s Library on Thursday 23 February with business book guru and author of Exploratory Writing Alison Jones. Just a couple of places left!
➡️ For some Arvon magic in your own life Bec is delivering a guest talk next week. Sadly it’s sold out but she’s doing an online masterclass on writing habits in June.
➡️ We’re thrilled with our book reviews. Check out the London School of Economics and Publishers Weekly - and if you've read, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
➡️ Join us for this Reedsy online live event - TODAY - and find out how to build a productive writing habit.
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