It's been a while since I was a member of a writing group, but recently I rejoined. I know that 'rejoined' sounds slightly strange but it's the truth, honest.
I've been a member of several different groups in the area - each one unique. The first group I attended was in a neighbouring town, they were supportive of each other but no of newbies joining their established group. I wanted to fit in, I wanted to join in but sadly, an invisible barrier couldn't be penetrated so I didn't attend after six sessions.
My next group was a brand-new group, its newness was probably sought out specifically due to the aged code within the previous one. Any way, this group had a leader who was hot on admin. Over hot on admin to the point that the formality of the meeting stifled any creativity to the point that people left, in droves. Arguments occurred, bank accounts were closed and the admin was deleted. All I wanted to do was talk about writing, give feedback on writing and possibly encourage others to write! That group partly dissolved, we kept the name and a nuclear core remained but it didn't really survive. The group went down to four members, who'd meet in a local pub once a month. Sadly, if one person was away or ill the whole night was a waste of time. And over time, less and less feedback was given to the point that it wasn't a supportive group for me to attend, so I left. Actually, I left when I asked the folks to read my website to check if it was OK. I didn't read that night because I'd made a request upon their time outside of the group. They didn't read my website, didn't show much interest and I asked myself what was I doing giving up time to attend? Because that's what it comes down to really, we each have just 168 hours per week in which to live our lives. If you're trying to accomplish a goal, such as writing or any other dream, you need to cypher that valuable time away from the rest of your life. And that, isn't easy at the best of times.
I then joined a very well established group, a group which was valued in the local area, varied in genre, known and respected amongst writers in the Midlands. Boy oh boy, talk about in house fighting and silent battles. I used to travel a fair distance to attend so, it was a whole night given up for me. Sadly, over time certain characters dominated with their views, their strops and their resignations to the point that a full blown argument occurred. I wasn't present to witness it, but at the next meeting I instantly knew that something dreadful had occurred! Knife. Cut. Atmosphere. With - arrange as you like, but it was dreadful - I never went back again. I hear on the grapevine that this group has now disbanded which is a shame because it had great potential.
I was a little lost without a writers' group - I've always embraced the idea that 'birds of a feather flock together' and benefit each other by doing so.
Then finally, I took the bull by the horns and joined a city based writing group in Birmingham. What a difference! The group was held at the newly built modern Birmingham Library, which is a joy to behold inside and out. I went for several months and it was great. There was a huge gathering of writers each meeting 20+ people writing all sorts of material short stories, poetry, autobiography plus a wide range of genres - which I never read but still found interesting to listen to and give feedback on. It was fair trek for me but I was loving it. Such is life, the minute you settle something or someone unsettles you so, the library decided it could no longer support our group as the library opening hours were being changed. What's that I hear you say? A brand new library making cut back almost as soon as it opened! Yep, that's what happened, so the group and to move to another venue. As many members went straight to the writers' group from work they brought the start time forward which made it almost impossible for me to continue at the new venue. So, I had to say goodbye.
And, I've stayed homeless without a writing group for four long years. I've missed the exchange of ideas, the feedback given and received by members, the genuine encouragement but most of all I've missed the people. the members who are each striving for their dream of being published, holding their novel/anthology/poem and acknowledging that their hard work paid off. I have genuinely missed being amongst the grass roots of being a writer, and chasing that dream. During those four years, I worked incredibly hard and was generously awarded time and attention from others in the industry - together those elements meant I gained publishing contracts and a literary agent. My dreams came true, I became a published author. And to date, I've had four book published, I'm currently working on number five.
Now 2019 has proved to be a strange year so far, so I thought 'let's do it' and I've returned to the Birmingham Writers' Group in their new venue. It is still going to be a struggle for me to arrive on time, it will always be a huge trek given my location but it's worth it. I attended for the second time last night, I even paid my annual subscription so I'm a fully fledged members again... and, I loved it. I'd forgotten how nice it is to hear other peoples' work, to give encouragement to others and be able to converse with like minded people. I'm hoping that the coming months I will be able to attend when I can and support others.
It is 00:01 hours on Monday, 1st April 2019 so, I should be fast asleep and dreaming but I'm not. I'm sitting at my desk and have been for the last ten minutes waiting for the local church clock to strike midnight so, I can begin CampNaNo 2019. CampNaNo is the April equivalent to November's NaNoWriMo 50,000 word challenge which I do each year, but this year I've decided to complete the extra challenge where you set your own writing goal. I've set a CampNaNo goal of 30,000 words to be written by 30th April mainly because I already have a major project occurring this month given that my next book needs to be submitted by Friday, 3rd May. I know, I know, I can hear you berating me but I love a challenge. So, for this month I will continue to edit Book 5 but will also finish off the first draft of a 'secret book' project I started a while back which currently sits at 53,200 words. I'm sure this 'secret book' needs just 30,000ish words to finish the tale then I can begin editing - who knows it might even become another published book!
My plan for the month is to revert back to my three writing sessions a day: morning, late afternoon and evening to write, edit and edit to achieve my goal by 30th April. It would be an added bonus if my Book 5 submission were ready a few days early!
Anyhow, I now need to begin writing the first of those 30,000 words if I am ever going to achieve... so, goodnight and I'll keep you updated on the 'home' page regards my CampNaNo word count.
I have managed 1032 words for my CampNaNo project and then spent the rest of the day editing my current 'Work-in-progress'. I've had a happy day, as today is also my birthday so, a special day all round. Have a good evening and I'll update tomorrow.
Day 4: What a great start I've had! I'm chuffed with myself for managing to juggle the two projects side by side. See, you never know until you try! CampNaNo secret project has gone well, I've managed to write 4168 words in four days which is two complete chapters. One of which was a pinnacle plot point and that simply flowed from my finger tips - a pleasure to write. My current project to be published January 2020, is doing very nicely. I'm about to begin writing the third strand of the novel, which will be a really fun story line given the situation and circumstances but will also be quite emotional in places. I have no doubts that's I'll cry when I come to edit it. I am hoping to spend the entire weekend working on this project so, Monday should see a huge difference in my word count. I'm almost treating the next few days as a 'writing retreat' at home so, I'll be doing very little else but submerging myself.
Day 10: What a super day of writing I've had today! Writing is a strange business, I think about what I'll write before you sit down at the laptop and then, my fingers tap away delivering the goods. Other days, like today, I do the exact same process but my fingers cannot keep up with the speed in which my mind is delivering the goods. Literally, I was speed typing for England and when I eventually stopped... 3012 words. 3012 words in one single writing session - that's amazing for me! I usually record such output after an entire day not in just over 90 minutes. I don't think my brain drew breath! Can I repeat the same tomorrow? I doubt it. Sessions such as these come along every now and then, purely to give author's joy and hope that the next 'amazing writing session' is just around the corner. My CampNaNo project is still plodding along nicely, alongside this main project (on which I'd had a superb day) so, the juggling act continues to work for me.
Day 15: Half way through the month and so, far I'm on track. My major project (the deadline is 3rd May) continues to grow. I've reached a particularly lovely section of the manuscript where the fun is still happening but the end is in sight. I have seventeen more days until my deadline so remain in the thick of it. My CampNaNo wasn't so easy to write today, I've got to a section which feel as if I can't lose myself into the actual story without doing more research but I can't really afford the time due to my major project. Ah well, I'll write what I can adding 'notes to myself' as I go which I can work on later. The word count is fine, its the detail that I'm not happy with at the moment.
Disaster: Notre Dame Cathedral on fire - so very sad. Guess who has half a chapter based at the Cathedral in her next book (the major project) - looks like there'll be a few description changes during my edits.