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hazel20Muse Flash

Muse Flash is a bespoke mentoring course for media professionals who want to polish up their pitching and feature writing chops. It runs for six weeks and includes four weeks of blogs and comprehensive course notes based on good, bad and ugly pitches from our own chequered pitching pasts. (The ugly week is especially cringe-worthy and, intriguingly, that’s everyone’s favourite.)

For the last fortnight we go off-piste, offering unlimited hand-holding / cheer-leading / pitch workshopping via email. We sign off with a ‘How was it for you?’ phone call, during which you can pick our brains for one last time.

Each cohort has access to a secret Facebook group (get us) where we post pep-talks, vlogs, share resources we’ve found useful, critique your pitches (if you’re feeling brave) and generally waste time in.

But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s a testimonial from a recent student:

“I can’t rave enough about the course. It’s not easy for any of us to admit we need help, but Hazel and Heidi make learning about the scary world of pitching fun and inspiring, rather than scary and depressing. The course is a great balance between discipline and serious learning, and fun and banter – something we all need. It’s all about how much you put in – I feel that if you have decided to invest the cash and the time in the course then you reap the rewards ten-fold. I secured a commission during the course itself, thanks to their help, and have already gone on to secure more. More importantly, I’m enjoying it, which I definitely wasn’t before I’d gained a bit of confidence and learned more about how to think differently about pitching and features. It’s 100% worth the money, providing you’re willing to throw yourself at it.”

Who teaches Muse Flash?

We are Hazel Davis and Heidi Scrimgeour; writers, friends and sharers of names that begin with the letter H. We’ve been friends for yonks and had waffled about working together in some capacity for years. We joined forces for a memorable day’s training (which started with Lego and ended with an actual fire) and our empire* was born.

Well, it started a bit before that actually.  In 2015, a budding writer who was leaving the safety of a staff job to go freelance asked Heidi to put together an online training course. Something that would help her up her pitching game and kick ass as a freelance writer. Bitchin’ Pitching was born. (Incidentally, bitchin’ = remarkably good or cool.) Word spread, until demand for training in kickass-ery necessitated finding a partner in crime.

Up in Yorkshire, Hazel had been busy running her own PR and media training and was about to relaunch her Write Yourself Happy courses for folk who wanted to, well, write themselves happy. She’d also been offering media advice to local businesses and PR companies and after a flurry of over-excitable email exchanges, Muse Flash took shape.

*Ok, it’s a partnership between two writers pouring their hard-won expertise and love of words into an unrivalled range of mentoring and training courses for writers. But watch this space.

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Who are we?

Hazel is based in West Yorkshire and writes for a number of publications including the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Independent and Times as well as various lifestyle publications. She was assistant editor at awesome game-changing women’s magazine Standard Issue and works as a copywriter and editor for a wide range of clients in the public and private sectors. Hazel also sings in a folk duo and chamber choir, has two young bonkers children and two equally bonkers dogs. You can ask her neighbours whether her nightly ukulele practise is getting her anywhere.

Heidi has written for a range of national and consumer titles including the Guardian, Daily Mail, Express, Irish Independent and Psychologies. She is currently gear editor of Bauer’s Mother & Baby magazine on a freelance basis.

Originally from London, Heidi lives near the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland with her husband and their three children. She is a founding board member of Belfast’s first co-operative brewery and (mainly due to the beer thing) feels obliged to be a runner, too.

What makes us think we can teach?

The fact that people kept asking us to share the secrets of our pitching success, mostly. Journalists-turned-media-trainers are ten-a-penny but few of of them are still at the coalface of the very thing they teach. We’ve been told, repeatedly, that our training stands out because we are.

If you prefer academic credentials, have some of these apples…

Having graduated from the Media, Communications and Creative Arts programme at St Mary’s University College in 1998, Heidi studied for an MA in Public Communication at the University of Westminster’s School of Media, Arts and Design in 2004, whilst working full-time for a media agency. Shen then taught on undergraduate communications courses at Westminster for several years and was subsequently invited to teach on the Arts and Digital Industries programme at the University of East London, specialising in the interface between journalism and PR, before relocating to Northern Ireland in 2007. Since then, she’s been a self-employed freelance journalist.

Hazel got a distinction for her MA in Linguistics and Language Corpora (no, nobody knows what that is) and dropped out of a FULLY FUNDED PhD a quarter of the way through to write free copy for the Leeds Guide. But, whatever. She almost applies for PhD projects a couple of times a year.

As jobbing journalists with more than two decades of experience between us, we know how hard this industry is to survive in. So we won’t sugarcoat things for you. We’re experts in the challenges of meeting unrelenting deadlines and continually coming up with fresh ideas but we still LOVE pitching and enjoy nothing more than sharing our expertise and enthusiasm with students who feel they need a flash of inspiration. Or, as one recent student recently described Muse Flash, “an intravenous shot of adrenaline”.

Where did Muse Flash come from?

Bitchin’ Pitching was the first training course that Hazel and Heidi ran as co-tutors. As more and more students began contacting us to say they’d had work commissioned and published as a direct result of our feedback on their pitches, we decided to develop the course to allow more emphasis on bespoke mentoring.

Do we offer other types of training?

Why, yes we do. Thanks for asking. In addition to the main Muse Flash course, we also offer regular bespoke mentoring and one-off workshops for those who need that extra bit more and we also run regular pitching courses for small businesses (and PRs) who need a kick up the pants (in the nicest way).

Oh, and that first student who kicked this whole thing off? We can’t claim much (any) credit but she’s now a published novelist with a second book on the way.

To find out more, drop us an email.