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do I need another writing group?

posted 16 Apr 2015, 15:51 by Fran Brady
I belong to several writing groups and, as each one inevitably takes up precious writing time, I frequently ask myself why? One of my groups started off as a weekly meeting in a delightful old pub in the university district of Edinburgh. It peaked with three wonderful retreat weeks (over three years) as one of the members has a large and lovely holiday house on the Isle of Mull. Then the pub burned down and we were homeless and nomadic for a year. It re-opened but somehow was never the same again, changed management twice and finally closed. Now we try to meet in one of our homes once a month, spend the morning writing and share our work over lunch. It is working, sort-of, but has never reclaimed the motivation and magic of its heyday.
I'm a member of the Scottish Fellowship of Christian Writers (two day conferences a year) and recently joined its committee which means another two meetings a year. I belong to a book group which meets monthly and has an annual trip to Wigton Book Festival (which I can heartily recommend - lots of fun, quirky and very friendly). Then there are all the online groups, fellowships and clubs which generate a relentless, mind-boggling flow of emails and website links.
You would think, would you not, that I need another writing group like a hole in the head? But Monday this week saw me waiting on the platform at Linlithgow to round up four people and take them to a prepared venue (quiet,comfy room, coffee and homemade flapjacks, even) to launch a new group. Our common denominator (apart from a love of writing) is that we all count ourselves as Christian believers and want to explore our faith through our writing. We shared poems, a short story and two monologues. It felt very good and I'm glad I overrode my trepidation about imposing yet another commitment on my crowded writing life.
One member was unsure and apprehensive about even coming, let alone reading out anything she had written. She shared a superb short poem and received praise and encouragement. She's now keen to continue, already valuing the group and looking forward to our next meeting. I am hoping, once her confidence has grown, that she will let me share her work on this blog. It's spring: a good time to sow seeds and see writing buddies bloom.