Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb February 15, 2014 - 6:00am

There are no writing groups where I live at all, so I'm planning on starting one, and already have my local library interested in hosting it. I refuse to believe there are no classes because there are no writers, when I'm told there are so many people out there doing the same thing I am every day. I told them I'm not planning on hosting classes as I don't have that sort of experience, but more of a workshop based thing to get people who write together and see where it goes. Has anyone else done anything similar?

KarenRunge's picture
KarenRunge from South Africa is reading Blindness February 15, 2014 - 6:49am


Yes! I can give you some ideas from what I do. I run a quarterly writers meeting group in the city where I live. The idea, for me, came not only from not having any writing workshops available, but also to give writers a place where they can share their work in an open, friendly environment, without rejection, and only constructive, positive criticism. (I wanted it that way based on the idea that writers get enough rejection/criticism when submitting work!) The idea is 'Create, Share, Inspire'. That simple. No genres, no themes, no holds barred. Just whatever you want to share. The only limit is word count--no piece over 1000 words or we'd never get everything done. But that work can be an excerpt, a poem, a rambling. Anything lit, so long as it's by the writer.

What I did at first was just advertise it, and from there built up a list of regulars. I still advertise every time, though, and there are always fresh faces. People have the option to submit their pieces in advance. They don't have to, but if they do I compile everything and have it bound so that everyone has a copy of the work to take home with them. I'm an artist, too, so I do the artwork myself. I think it's nice to have something to take away with you.

I have two friends who own bars, who let me use their places as venues free of charge. What we do is drink wine/coffee and everyone reads their piece out loud. People can give comments/ask questions after each piece, and then we move on to the next one. Most people hang around afterwards, so a lot of friendships are made.

I was SUPER NERVOUS the first time I put one together!! But it's been such a rewarding experience and I can feel how much it's appreciated. Even folks who just drop in to listen usually leave saying 'Oh wow I'm totally going to submit something next time!!'

Hope this helps--and have fun! Any questions etc, drop me a message!

~ K


mattymillard's picture
mattymillard from Wolverhampton, England is reading Curse of the Wolf Girl - Martin Millar February 16, 2014 - 4:34am

Hey! I don't have experience of setting one up, but I have attended a few and have now found one that really suits me.

If I have some advice for setting one up based on attending, it would be the following. seems to be a very effective medium for advertising groups like this on in the UK (I know of a couple of people here who have quickly filled up writing groups from this site)

Getting the balance and regularity of events is hard! Get everyone involved in deciding what you want to do, but maybe to start have a go at lots of different things. Most popular ones at my writing group are anonymous manuscripts (so everyone submits in advance and you admit at the end of the discussion who's was who's) and open manuscripts where you can read for around ten minutes. Word limits can be hard to enforce - some people read really fast, and some are reeeaalllyyy sloooooowww. :-) I'm really looking forward to trying the write on demand events they do (ie you turn up, everyone gets a theme and you write for the session). I would say, in terms of regularity, dont hold these formal style sessions any more often than every two weeks, else people will find it difficult to contribute regularly.

Hope there's something helpful in there!