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Archive for the ‘Writing Group’ Category

It was writing group today and we decided to try a new venue.  Most of us live in very close proximity and with our new pub opening recently it seemed sensible to try it out for the group arrangement.

It worked really well, with a cosy corner to sit and chat, and during our visit we also discussed regular writing sessions (rather than discussions) and an open mike event.

When I raised them with the landlord he was very positive.

So from now on, I am going to work in the pub, quietly in a corner, at least one day a week.

Going somewhere and absorbing the atmosphere – whatever that happens to be – will enable me to access different thoughts or emotions, which I can then filter into poetry.

I am really excited about it and am starting tomorrow to see how it goes.  I might sit alone or with my writing friends, but either way I will be working to fill a space in my writing process, which is always good!

So roll on tomorrow, when I can get even more done!!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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Sorry – Christmas is seeping in everywhere already and the music just popped into my head!

This is a mid-week post rather than a random thoughts post, because it’s turned into quite a good writing day. Not for actual, physical writing – don’t expect too much of a Thursday 😉 – but for engaging with my work again.

It began at my monthly writing group. I don’t always find myself coming home full of writing vim and vigour, but this time it just seemed to click for me.

Firstly, I shared my new plan to the group, explaining that I felt I had lost my way with writing at least since I got ill in June. Maybe before, but definitely then.

I explained that I was going to approach it differently, and how that looked.

I talked about my novel, about the story, the theme and the underlying message, and why I felt I needed to look at it again with clearer eyes and see what weaknesses remain – I had an offer of help with this too.

And last but not least, I chatted with someone not in the group, who was interested in talking about writing once he knew why we were there. It was the kind of conversation that fills me with positivity, because we inspired him to talk about something completely new.  He told me he wrote a journal, about his favourite book, about his interest in literature.  It was a chance conversation but it left a really warm feeling.

So today was a good writing day, even without any writing – and I wanted to celebrate it with you all in the hope it will be just what you need one day, too.

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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Well, the editing didn’t get finished as hoped, but that’s fairly standard – it always takes longer than I expect and there’s been quite a few other life distractions that have cut into my working time.  I just have to keep on tracking down all those little niggles and smoothing them out for a little bit longer.

I need to get it done before 1 March though, because I don’t want it hanging about for too long: I’ll be really busy with my paid job after that for a little while, and I probably won’t get a lot of writing time.

I have one other piece of writing work to get done this week too – an exercise for writing group.  I kind of feel that I have to do it as it’s the ‘homework’ I set people, to try out a particular technique and see if it helps them.  Much as I find with the blog, I never really know what people will want from one month to the next, but I figure it’s good to share exercises and approaches that work for me because worst case scenario, they won’t work for someone else – there’s no risk factor.

Anyway, rather than talk about what I haven’t done, I’m going to share some positives…

  • I got my tickets to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • I got a costume sorted out for a charity 1920’s dinner party next weekend
  • I planned a trip to see family in the North of England
  • I arranged not one but two reunions with school friends  It’s a big anniversary year this year so I have quite a few events with different people to plan!

So not all bad; in fact some pretty cool ticks on the list this week – they’re just not quite where I was intending to tick.

But I take the good where I can.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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I’ve been at writing group tonight, and one of the things we agreed on at the end of last year was to return to a format where we could have a little reminder session/advice session in each meeting.  This means I get to set exercises, and homework.

I feel a little power crazed…

Today, we went back to writing basics and it was all about showing not telling.

That is one of the first things I learnt as a writer, and it is something I understood very easily as I have written poetry since I was about 10. Poetry is the ultimate in showing and is a good way to practice – things that may seem overly flouncy in the middle of a crime scene are perfectly acceptable in a poem so you can be much less subtle!

What always helps me is to think about the scene as though I am watching it on film, or looking at it in a photo. Then rather than describe the scene directly, I describe what I can see on camera – the way someone’s lips curl in a sneer they try to hide with their hand, the dust motes in the lamplight, the fingerprints smeared on a dirty glass.  It’s a strange distinction but one that works for me.

But it doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s a valuable lesson in the writing group too. Not all exercises will help all the members.  Not all exercises will be approached in the same way.  Not all writers will be able to produce a page of writing at will.  Not all lessons come easily.

However, whatever style of writing you want to do – poetry, prose, script, non-fiction, travel journal – it is worth trying different approaches.  Some may not work but finding a technique that helps you bring your words to life is a positive outcome for your entire writing life.  That’s worth a bit of effort, surely?

I’m going to keep going back to my ‘show, don’t tell’ exercises.  They remind me of the basic rule of writing and keep me focussed on the reader.  They, after all, are my audience.  They deserve my best work.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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This week felt good, writing-wise.

I got my Christmas poem done, just in time for publication of the local newsletter, and despite not a lot of time to refine it I was quite pleased with how it came out. It had a rhyme scheme which isn’t my usual thing but I thought would be better for the audience who would probably be more comfortable with that style than with blank verse. It also incorporated the ideas I wanted to convey about thinking of others and kindness to each other – it was a bit less subtle than I would normally like to be but I was time-limited and quite honestly I don’t know that subtlety would have worked in any case. It’s out there now, at any rate, and I hope it gets a few people thinking and a few more enquiries about the writing group.

I have also organised the first writing group Christmas meal – following the positive feedback on Thursday, it makes me feel quite proud of how far we’ve come!

So – what next? Well, I have a lot of work to do to get me back on track with the whodunnit; I really did stop completely with this when my nana got ill and I haven’t gone back to it. I want to get this completed before Christmas and move on to something else.

Specifically, I want to move on to my completed novel: re-read it, polish it where required, and decide on its future. I have an idea, a plan if you will, but it’s going to take a bit of time so I want a clear run at it. I don’t want the whodunnit hanging over it making me feel like I need to rush or that I have to split my attention.

I also want to review my poetry – I have a lot of bits of poems in folders and on my computer and I need to organise them into a proper portfolio of work, then start doing more open mike events and performances.

That’s probably my New Year Resolution in a nutshell – do more with the writing I’ve done!

So this has been a good week, because I’ve finished a piece and submitted it to the human gaze; I had a positive writing group; I made some writing decisions.  Next week, I need to have a good week closing in on the whodunnit ending so I can put it away and go back to my firstborn novel.

For the first week in ages I produced something in my writing time, and I want to build on the buzz that has given me.

Roll on next week!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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It’s about 10.20pm and I’ve just got in from my writing group. It was a bit of an odd evening, but it was a good night.

It seems a long time ago when I decided that I should set up my own group to meet my own desires, and someone said something today that really made me proud.

They have published their book via Amazon and have sold a number of copies, both print and Kindle, and they said they wouldn’t have done it without the group. They may have written without us, but we were the catalyst for publishing this year, for just getting their work out into the world.

It’s amazing what a writing support group can achieve – people writing and performing poetry for the first time in their lives; people writing their first novels; people publishing their own works.

I really do think having a network of like-minded people can do a writer wonders – and if you can’t find what you want, build it yourself!

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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I’ve just got in from writing group, where we have decided to set ourselves a little winter challenge – to each produce something for our local newsletter for publishing between December and January.

To get us all in the mood we spent some writing time on a few seasonally appropriate haiku. Now, as I’ve said before, I love this form of writing as it’s so accessible to writers who are new to poetry or who lack confidence in writing poetry.

I thought I’d share one I wrote today, just for fun:

An eiderdown fall:
The world is feathery white –
Our noses are numb.

Happy writing

EJ

🙂

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