Archive for the ‘Writing Group’ Category

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,




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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,



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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,



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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,

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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



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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,

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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,



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