Before the workshop, we are asked to clear our minds, turn off our laptops and write a 300-piece on whatever came to mind at the time. When I first sat down to tackle this task, it felt slightly daunting - translators don't normally have to come up with their own ideas! But once I had found a topic, I found that it didn't take long for the words to start flowing. These pieces were submitted anonymously to be discussed during the seminar.
Once we had all arrived in MK (on yet another scorching this day this summer), we had a general introduction to Ann's background and what inspired her to run this workshop. We also looked at how translators and translation had been perceived over time and how writing in your free time can help to improve your translations.
It was then time to get down to the practical part of the day, which included working in groups to create characters, finding inspiration in sensual stimuli and writing a short piece based on this experience. In the afternoon, we all discussed our response to the morning's work, before looking at the anonymous pieces and analysing them in terms of the issues they might throw up during translation. I found this part particularly useful as it makes you realise that a lot of the things I had written were subconscious, so you cannot always curse your source text author for their choices (as they probably don't even realise they have done it!)
Although I had never really harboured any ambitions to become a writer, I learned how writing outside of translation can help you to understand how to better put ideas into words. And whether you are into all this colouring-in, dot-to-dot for adults or whatever other "mindfulness" activity is the latest trend, sitting down and writing in peace for a few minutes was great for switching off the work-side of my brain. I hope to implement Ann's suggestion of setting aside some time for creative writing, even if it is just keeping a diary. I would definitely recommend this workshop and would love to see the ITI offering something similar again in future.