Write On

Last week, I blogged about whether I could sustain a blog about writing without the backdrop of my MLitt programme for material with the worry that the source of content might run dry.

I was being too narrow-minded. One of my twitter writing pals, Josephine Corcoran, rightly pointed out that, “Updates about a chapter, re-writes, books you’ve read, workshops you’ve attended, articles you’ve read, programmes you’ve listened to, places you visit, conversations you overhear – however you engage with all of this material” is all related to writing. Wendy Storer, said blogging is, “just like writing anything really – write through the blocks and you dig up all sorts of stuff you weren’t planning or expecting.”  And one of my long-time friends, Jill commented on Facebook that I shouldn’t feel pressure to blog about something related to writing and just write about “whatever comes up your proverbial”.

So it’s business as usual and this week I do have a bit of ‘writing’ news.  Firstly, one of my short stories is to be published in the 2nd edition of Valve Literary Journal and I’m absolutely chuffed to add this to my literary CV.  Put yee and ha together to make Yeeha!

The second piece of news is that, I joined a local writers’ group. Ever since finishing the MLitt classes, I’ve felt a bit adrift at no longer belonging to a like-minded group of people. I’m very lucky to have a supportive home life but none of the three males that I share a home with share my love of literature (the most they read is the Glasgow Herald and 2/3 only read the Sports pages). It can be a lonely existence when there’s no one around to discuss POV, WIP, 3rd person narrative, dramatic function blah blah blah. I missed the group structure, submission deadlines and banter of being involved with other writers all on the same page. So I took the plunge on Tuesday night and went along to Stirling Writers’ Group (thanks for the recommendation Laura).

As a virgin (it’s been a long time since I could make that claim), you don’t share your work and are only expected to observe/participate in the discussions at your first meeting. It is early days and I’ve joined at the penultimate meeting for this session, but in the words of Arnie, “Hasta la vista baby”.

Before I went along, I was cautious about committing to a writing group (I kept a close eye on the door but it remained unlocked and there was no initiation ceremony where I was asked to spill blood) who might not match my writing ambitions. I’d heard scary stories of amateur hobby groups who met only for a good blether and bitch about each other’s writing.

Stirling’s first makar for nearly 500 years but well worth the wait!

But the beauty of this group is that they have regular professional tutors to give proper constructive feedback. On Tuesday, the tutor was Magi Gibson and I was well impressed by her sharp, intuitive constructive criticism on the work of the members. Without the input of an experienced writer to facilitate, there’s always a danger that a writing group could simply be a case of the blind leading the blind but this is not going to be a problem at SWG.

So next week, I’ll offer up my words for the group to chew on and possibly spit out but the beauty is that I’ll have a deadline and an audience for my work. And that can only be a good thing, whether they like my writing or not!

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6 thoughts on “Write On

  1. Hi Helen, and good on ya for the story and for joining the writing group – sounds like a well-run outfit. I’ve just joined a group: one meeting so far and the jury’s still out for similar reasons you mention. Oh and I’ve got to write some blank verse by 7pm tomorrow. I had to look it up yesterday to make sure I knew what it was … doesn’t bode that well really!

  2. Wow, you don’t hang about Helen! Great news that you’ve already joined what sounds like a brilliant group. As you know I firmly believe having a facilitator is really important. Also congratulations re your short story. I missed your last post where you contemplated stopping blogging, glad to see it doesn’t fall to me to give you a hard time – of course you should keep going, you seem to be able to write about anything in a fun and lively way. Greetings from Planet Isabel…

    • Hi Susan and Isabel
      I’m happy to report that the joining the writing group seems to be a good move. Last week there was a ‘bash’ showcasing the work of members of the group and also established writers like Sophie Cooke and the poet William Letford. It was a great night so even for the social side of things, I’m definitely going to go back after the summer break.

  3. Congrats on the story acceptance!

    I have a friend who was/is a member of Stirling Writers – he may have left now as he’s about to emigrate to the US so you may have just missed him. His name’s Gavin Broom anyhow, and he always spoke highly of the group. I keep dabbling with the idea of joining something. Hm…

    • Thanks Teresa! Small world eh? Yes, I met Gavin at one of his last meetings which was a real shame as his feedback was very sharp. I’m sure he’ll be missed although I see that he runs an on-line magazine- The Waterhouse Review, and I might try submitting to it…

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