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Archive for the ‘Writing Group’ Category

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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Well, I’m back on a Thursday, for this week at least!  Hopefully I’ll be able to do at least one of these posts a month going forward, now I’m getting to grips with my new life timetable 🙂

This one really is a thought, and one I wonder if anyone shares or if I’m just an old-fashioned girl…  At my last writing group, one of the other writers was talking about tools they use. One of these is a website for rhyming words, which they use for poems, and they advised us all to use the site when working on our own pieces.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this advice and I am not entirely sure I am comfortable with it.

For me, part of writing is about seeking out a word that says something to me.  Every word in my poems is fought over, and wrestled with, until I get a line or stanza that has the emotion, rhythm, and physical feel in the mouth that I am after. The work has to look right on paper as well – spiky letters or round, long words or short, repeated letters. All of it is part of the work, and I can’t imagine just picking a word that rhymes is nearly as effective.  In fact, only about 30% of my work has a formal rhyme scheme because often I can’t have the poem I want within the confines of a set scheme.

Don’t get me wrong; if I was massively stuck with something I might use it to prise some ideas loose, but it wouldn’t be a shortcut, it would be a jump-start.

Writers of the past – Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Auden, Owen to name but a few – didn’t have these tools, and they managed to produce poetry that has long outlived them and still has power and resonance today.

So what do you think? Should we writers use every opportunity to make life a little easier? After all, a writing life can be pretty draining.

Or should we delve into ourselves to find words, sweat over them when needed, to make sure they fit the poem in every possible way?

I’d love to know what you think – post a comment below and let me know if you are like me or if I should get myself into the 21st Century already!!

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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This week has been a bit hit and miss, writing-wise.

The hit – writing group reconvened and it was a really positive one. I shared the start of the whodunnit and got great feedback on that, and I shared a very personal poem to excellent comments.  It was very personal about a very difficult experience, and I’m pleased I was finally able to show it to people because I am proud of it.

We also all set writing targets for the year; realistic but challenging, including how we can support each other.  The group is getting back into the swing of things after missing out a few sessions due to my wedding and then Christmas; our new venue and new approach is really livening things up and I hope we get a few more members to keep the engagement levels high.

The miss – well, not an entire miss, but I only added a few hundred words to the whodunnit, so although the feedback left me on a high, the progress didn’t. I am aiming to move on a lot further this week!

Still, I am progressing, and that’s always good…

In other news – this week, we’ve reached book 75 in the 100 novels list – Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.  I have not read this and am a bit embarrassed to say I never realised it was written in  English; I always thought it was translated.  I can’t say I have any great plan to read it and even the small excerpt from the beginning of the book quoted in the article is a little bleurgh for me, so if it ever goes on my reading list, it will be near then end!

And finally – we’re drawing up a new list of books for reading group this week and I am amazed how different all our tastes are – it’s excellent because it encourages all of us to read things we would choose to leave on the shelf under normal circumstances.  Sadly I will probably have to read something else depressing and hard-going as a result but hey, at least I get food and giggles with my friends as a result!

That’s it from me for today – short and to the point, because I have to get everything ready for work tomorrow.  I am very lucky to have a part-time job so I can carry on with writing and reading, but it does mean I have to be a little more organised than nature made me!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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Oh dear – another late posting and I’m not even in the last gasp of getting the wedding stuff done.  By November I’ll probably be about two weeks behind!

This week I hosted the writing group and decided to use the magic of the internet to find some writing exercise that I thought would spur everyone’s imagination. The theory was that by allowing people to choose their own exercise, they would engage with it and explore something that felt right for them.

It didn’t quite work like that though – in fact it filled everyone with a shared horror, akin to sitting an exam when they haven’t done any studying!  Still, we all got through it and it was very interesting to see how different people approach writing.  For example, one person can take virtually any exercise and create an adventure story whilst another explores what I call ‘the human experience’ by focussing on feelings and emotions.

This is what’s best about writing exercises, especially for newer, or less confident, writers.  You spot patterns in your work.  Areas of strength and of development; styles; shortcuts in your language that need refining.  You see how easy, or hard, it can be to put on paper what is in your mind.

Don’t just take my word for it though; have a go.   There are plenty of exercises on-line or in writing guides, but you can make your own if you like too.  Write a piece where the world is black and white, and your character has to explain colours in 500 words, or where your romantic lead is a serial killer, or where someone can hear the weather talking and has to decipher what it is saying.

Anything, and everything, is possible in books.  The limit isn’t just your imagination, it’s also your ability to describe what you imagine.  By exercising your mind you will make yourself as good a writer as you can be.

Hopefully, it won’t always feel like a pop quiz when you try!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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Tonight was my writing group and I’m shattered so this one is just to say join a group if you can; create one if you have to.

It’s so refreshing to talk about, think about and safely share work. It’s a real pleasure to plan discussions and exercises, and it’s a great reminder to me of all the steps that any one of us takes before we feel able to put our work out to a wider audience.

It also comes with the added bonus of meeting new people with whom you can talk about writing without sounding like a dreamer!

Until next time,
Happy writing
EJ
🙂

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Today is day one of my break and the first of two days I get to spend with my sister and her family so I’m not working and I pre-prepared this post before I left. I’m at the retreat the rest of the time so there’s plenty of working time set aside!

This week I had a productive, and enjoyable writing group; the segment of the Woods novel I shared was well received which has given me a real boost, and the exercise we did to loosen up our writing was very successful.

I talked through the issue I had with the woods novel but the group were already commenting on the sinister elements in the atmosphere and the odd environment I’d created, so I was really happy.

Also the charity event I was involved with took place, which was exhausting but satisfying – we even got photographed for the paper! I may have to hunt down all the copies and burn them (cameras hate me!) but it was a good feeling to get the day underway.

So this week has been a positive one for both writing and general life and although I still didn’t catch up with everything I was due to do I at least feel that my time has been well spent.

On that note, a song to see you through to Tuesday!

Oh, and finally – we’re onto book 31 in the 100 novels list – Dracula by Bram Stoker.  I think I posted my opinion of it some while ago – it took me a long time (for me) to read, and is full of weather reports.  It’s not a book I’ll re-read, probably; I first read it as a teenager when I think I did enjoy it but I suppose that just proves our taste changes over time!

Until next week,

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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