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Writing Groups

edited January 2015 in Writing
Hi All,

I keep hearing about writing groups. Does anyone have experience with them? What is a writing group like? What happens there? Does anyone know a good one in London?



  • This is what happens at Erewash Writers, in Long Eaton:

    During the meetings there is a wide variety of activities including reading out of members’ own work for constructive comments, internal competitions and on-the-spot writing in response to inspirational exercises. Time is allowed for members’ news, club business and announcements of forthcoming events. Workshops and talks are held regularly and are open to non-members.

    Don't know if any of these are any good because I've never been to any of them but they're listed online as being in London:

    EAST DULWICH WRITERS GROUP [email protected]

    ◾GREENACRE WRITERS Rosie Canning, 25 Chistlehurst Avenue,London, N12 9LN email: [email protected] web: http://www.greenacrewriters.blogspot.com

    ◾HARROW WRITERS' CIRCLE John Monaghan, 189 Cantebury Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 4PA [email protected] www.harrowwriters.org.uk

    ◾PHRASE WRITERS The Chairman, 8 Didcot House, Chantry Close, Yiewsley, Middx, UB7 7FT.

    ◾ROYAL ELTHAM WRITERS' CIRCLE The Secretary, 195 Westmount Road, London, SE9 1XY email: [email protected]

    ◾THE WRITERS’ BLOCK The Secretary, 191 Holcroft Court, Clipstone Street, London W1W 5DH. Email: [email protected] web: http://writersblocklondon.wordpress.com/

    ◾TORRIDON WRITERS The Secretary, 18 Tremaine Close, London SE4 1YF. Email: [email protected]
  • Writing groups vary widely!

    I'd suggest that, once you've found one, you ask if you can go along to a meeting or two to see if it's for you.
  • The first one I went to we did small writing exercises during the lesson. The very first things the tutor did was put a shell in the middle of the table and ask us to describe it in a few sentences. Then we read them out, if we wanted. She said I was a poet. I said I didn't want to be. She was right.

    Then she'd set us homework, and we'd hand that in the next meeting. the meeting after we'd get it back with her comments.

    It was excellent, because she was - in fact it was Crysse Morrisson who used to write for WM.

    The next one was pretty similar but poems.

    It's well worth doing as the other students comment as well and you soon get the idea of what works in your writing and what doesn't if the other students are all in agreement, or even if the majority are.
  • I'm chairman at our local writers club. We split meetings between speakers, discussions, mini-workshops and competitions- obviously that's across the year.

    You may find some groups will require you to be published before letting you join - never understood that myself!

    But as PM said, ask to go along to a few meetings as a visitor, as each will vary and by visiting you should get a good idea if it's for you.

  • Thank you :) I'll give it a try some time.
  • Best of luck Balazs :-)

  • What happens there?
    First rule of Write Club is; you do not talk about Write Club.
  • Nobody ever kept that rule :P
  • I went to an Edinburgh one in the autumn but found them to be very clique and (searches for apt verb) cold I guess would cover it. I will try others but too busy at the moment - I'm sure the quality and welcome varies hugely - London will have loads which is brilliant - doing the rounds to find one you like - not so brilliant.
  • edited January 2015
    We start with boasting about our latest triumphs. Then read aloud from our current mss, and discuss them. The meeting, usually, has a theme such as; humour, argument, romance, and we read corresponding extracts from published texts aloud to give us ideas for our next effort. Members are encouraged to enter comps. David sings and plays guitar renderings of his own compositions. We sometimes have an aim such as the Bridport Prize or BBC Short Story Comp. and we drink coffee, tea, chocolate, fruit juice outside in the Summer. Once we were so involved, that we went an hour over time, but we're on sabbatical at the moment! The chauffeur's in Turkey.
  • edited January 2015
    Our group has been going for 30+ years and I was a founder member. Have a look at out website - it explains all and you can see our programme for the next few weeks up to Easter
  • Thank you, guys. I like the programme of your group, Betsie. Also, nice website.
  • The group I go to only meets once a month. I do wish it was more like once a week as they say being a writer is a lonely job. Also I think I need the inspiration push on a daily basis.
  • I am a member of a writing group but have moved about 14 miles away. I am hoping to continue attending but not every week. I have found it really helpful, not just in terms of confidence but in helping me to try out different styles of writing. We have about 20 mins writing, read around and discussion then after coffee we read and discuss either WIP or anything we have enjoyed.

    I was hoping to join a more local group but apparently this is for published authors only and by invitation (strictly no poetry!). I have self published 4 books through createspace and been in a couple of anthologies (including the OWC) and message them asking for any details but have had no reply so I presume I am not considered worthy.

    I am considering advertising to see if there are any other writers interested in meeting up and forming a separate group.

    My advice would be give them a go. I was really nervous and it has been such a wonderful experience and I have made some good friends.
  • Go ahead Gina and start your own. The one by invitation only sounds a bit stuffy to me.
  • I've looked and looked for a group in my area; if there is one it's well hidden.

    Thinking about putting an advert together for our parish magazine and see if I can get one started. I'd love to have a evening to look forward to each week with fellow writers.
  • Where are you, Johnny?
  • South East Essex.

    Trouble is, I don't drive and I commute seven days a week to London, which doesn't leave me much time :(

    Who knows, I might just find half a dozen fellow writers in the village :)
  • That's possible. Why not leave a flyer in the nearest library to gauge interest.
  • I don't drive and I commute seven days a week to London, which doesn't leave me much time :(
    Maybe an online group would suit you better?
  • That would be the simple solution, PM :)

    Any recommendations?

    I would like a change of scenery though. I'm either here in the shop, on a train or at home (with a pub thrown in now and then)

    A change of scenery once a week would be nice.

    I hadn't thought of leaving flyers in the library, TN, excellent suggestion!
  • Shame you can't organise a mobile group with your fellow train passengers - same time, same place every day... Give a shout out on the train!
  • Ha! We used to live in Tilbury, a lifetime ago. It was not a good journey from Fenchurch St, but much quicker than driving. Used to take us 2 hours to get in in the morning (I worked in the film/advertising industry in Soho, OH worked for the BBC either at Elstree or TV Centre). But only an hour to get home again. Bet that's worse now.
  • edited February 2015
    I'm on the other line, Liz.

    I do, approximately, 22 hours per week on the train, if they behave themselves.

    It's a lovely idea, TN, but there seems to be an unwritten law that forbids commuters to socialise other than by grunts and expletives.

    Bet you're glad you escaped Tilbury, Liz. I rarely venture there, if I do (I have a friend there) I tend not to linger...
  • I used to live in Purfleet, then in Grays.
    Fenchurch Street station has been wet with my tears after many a long day and no trains!
  • edited February 2015
    I used to belong to a WG that met fortnightly in Braintree at the Horse and Groom pub, 20, Rayne Road. Maureen Blundell was the leader.
    Publisher; Petan
    Author; Colyer, R. ( Maureen Blundell )
    Title; Closed Circuits, Cluttered Minds ( Trilogy )

  • I've recently joined a writers group in my hometown (Barking). It's only just been set up, had 3 meetings thus far.
  • I've recently joined a writers group in my hometown (Barking). It's only just been set up, had 3 meetings thus far.
    That's right next to where I work (East Ham) :)

    And I'm leaving soon :(

  • My worry is that I have been so ill this last year that I have been unable to much of anything (even writing at home, which is extremely frustrating) so don't want to commit to organising something that I am responsible for. I did notice that there was a sign on the notice board at the library for a creative writing course but at 6 sessions for £30 with only 2 left it was expensive (if I have already said that higher up I apologise but I am sufferng with such bad brain fog atm).

    Yes Dora, stuffy was what sprung to mind when I read it. I think that they look down on self-published and stated something about people needing to be thick skinned as their aim to is offer constructive criticism in WIP.

    I am perhaps looking for work and social type of writing group not a throw me to the wolves group. ;)
  • So often those type of groups only want writers who are published, or have an agent.
  • That appears to be the case. I do want something that is more focused than a coffee morning but not so regimented that it feels pressured. lol
  • The writers' club I attend has been getting new members who are starting learning or at the developing their writing stage. So we try for the informality with depth.
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