Catalyst: Releasing New Writing


Wanting to write, but not sure how to start? Stuck in a rut where your writing is concerned? In short, wondering where your creativity has disappeared to or whether you had any creativity in the first place?

Relax! Catalyst is here to inspire you! Writer and editor Verena Tay will help you perceive the world around you and the objects that surround you in a new fashion so as to fuel your creativity and give impetus to new writing. Whether you are a new or seasoned writer, Catalyst will stimulate your senses and spur you to write text infused with unexpected textures to grab the imagination of your readers.

Areas Covered

At the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Learn the process of drawing inspiration from the environment and objects found around yourself
  • Write creatively based on your inspirations
  • Receive feedback on how you can further develop what you have written during the workshop

Pre-Workshop Preparation

For Participants

Please bring pen/pencil and paper or laptop/tablet for the writing exercises.

For Organisers

Please provide:

  • a quiet, fair-sized room that allows all participants to sit (with writing surfaces), preferably in a large circle or U-shape formation
  • a table on which the facilitator can display various writing stimuli
  • a large whiteboard/flipchart and pens
  • pens/pencils & paper for participants (if they require)
  • make copies of handouts that will be emailed prior to the workshop.


Participants Feedback


What aspects of this workshop benefitted you the most?

"Most aspects are very inspiring. You get to think and write on the spot wiht the (minimal) resources that you have, i.e. short time & limited references. It's a good exercise to writing.

Chew Ling Choo

"Activities carried out to stimulate ideas were fun and helps to trigger writing ideas."


"The exercises which forced me to write within a limited timeframe made me realise it's important to just get started and the rest will follow."

Preeti D'Silva

"I learned that even from the simplest things like an object or scent you can get a great idea."

Angela Gupta

"The exercises were good in getting me to start.
Verena is very pleasant!"

Divya Madhaven

"Specific activities to spur the storytelling juices to flow.
Great fun! Insight & inspiration in large doses."

Laura C. Schuster

"Connecting the dots step by step towards forming and expanding an idea of a story I had."


"Good workshop. I thought story formation is very tough (as opposed to news writing). But now I am more optimistic."


"Structured process. Freedom to chose story path."

Maria Pressentin

"The characterization and the grounding."

Chai Yet Har

"Finding inspiration for writing stories, as it forced me to expand my horizons on thinking and creating a story. Knowing when to write in 1st & 3rd person perspective, structuring my stories properly according to it.
Very useful for unblocking my writer's block and changing my writing style."

Megan Khaw

"Being able to look at objects and write a story about the objects and listening to the different stories your group made up.
It taught me the process of descriptive writing and evolving of characters in a story."

Honey DeSapio

"Inspiration. Starting point. As a complete beginner to writing, I now know I have a starting point in writing. Learning to root story in situations.
Great Q&A session gives us all things to work on and exploration points."


"The interaction and group work allowed us to write and share our stories in an open, welcoming space. From simple objects, creativity can be sparked off, and now it seems to much easier to pick up an object, or taste seomthing, and created a story from that stimuli."

Laura Kee

"The different stimuli from sight to taste to scent, to inspire the senses to write.
Thanks for helping us overcome our fears of writing by introducing us how fun writing can be!"

Thecla Loh

"Group writing & ideation. Different elements woven together to form Character A, Character B, place & situation."

Dawn Lau

"It helped me confront my idea of the hardest part of writing. (Hard part – start writing)"

Kimberly Lim

"Brainstorming and discussion with each other.
I love it, loved it as it is."

Cristina Nurna

"Interacting with other participants during exercises is very helpful; to see other points of views and makes more fun because of human connection."

Handan Aribas Toker

"The workshop taught me where to get inspiration for my writing."

Christine Venenoso

"The whole thing – using the senses made it so accessible for us – and very very valuable to not only writing but maintaining life while creating art.
It was perfect. Learnt so much – thank you!"

Smita Lall

"The timed writing exercises. Associations."

Anjali Vasudenan

"All the exercises – Allowing the participants to explore on their own and designing their story finally."

Suguna Kiran

"The call to write there & then & the sharing – listening to the stories of others.
It's been a great 3 hours!"

Wong Swee Fong

"Opportunities to expand my ideas to write better."


"The coverage of the many ways we can draw inspiration from. Personally I am more used to visual and feelings. The other ways highlighted will greatly improve how/where I draw inspiration from."


"That all my senses are cues to a story.
Keep up the good work!! Spread, spin the tales!"

Dr Bryadashan

About the Facilitator

A Singaporean writer, editor, storyteller and theatre practitioner, Verena Tay has published a short story collection, Spectre: Stories from Dark to Light (2012), and three play collections, and edited various fiction anthologies, including the bestselling Balik Kampung series of short stories published by Math Paper Press. She possesses three Masters: English Literature (National University of Singapore, 1993); Voice Studies (Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 2005); and Creative Writing (City University of Hong Kong, 2015). Since 2005, she has been helping people to improve their communication skills and has taught voice, speech and presentation skills, storytelling and creative writing.