I’ve been part of a writers group for two and a half years now and it’s probably one of the best things that I’ve ever done.
Before I delve into a typical Saturday, maybe a bit of back story might help. I met my lovely friends Catherine, Ellie, and Emma through a NaNoWriMo meet-up back in 2012 (yet another thing I have to thank NaNoWriMo for). We met up with the ML and a few others throughout November, in this awful pretentious cafe that was always freezing and where the staff were always telling us to be quiet. It wasn’t great, but I loved being in the same space as other writers. There’s just something about being around other writers, maybe it’s the sound of other keyboards that spurns me on to write more, or maybe it was because the four of us had a lot in common and we had a laugh. Either way, when NaNo ended, I didn’t want to stop meeting up with people, so I suggested started a weekly writing group.
Luckily for me, Catherine and Ellie seemed to like the idea (Emma joined us a year later). It took us a few tries, but eventually we found this awesome cafe in our area. I remember the first couple of weeks were a bit weird, we got a lot of stares and a lot of questions, but the staff didn’t seem to mind having three (and later four) people take up one or two of their tables for the whole day, just to stare at their laptops and occasionally write a sentence. Now, two and a half years later, we have a really good relationship with the guys that run the cafe (so much so that I’ve promised to name them in the acknowledgments of my first novel, it’s only fair!)
In that time, Catherine, Ellie, and Emma have become my closest friends. They are wonderful people who I have a lot in common with, and most of the time we spend hours talking about everything but writing. They listen to me whine when my characters aren’t doing what I want them too, and they push me to finish my novels. I owe my sanity and a lot of my words to them.
Since I moved, I don’t get to go to writer’s group every week, but I try and head there at least twice a month. I miss everything if I’m away too long.
So, here’s what a typical Saturday looks like:
I spend a lot of my weekend on trains lately. Trains mean three things for me: A good book, music and coffee.
The cafe is amazing. It’s cozy and we have our favourite spot in the corner which we take over every week. The staff are great and know our regular orders off by heart now. Plus there’s cake, and that’s always a bonus.
You have no idea how much diet coke I go through in one session.
And here we are. I asked Tony to take this after convincing Catherine to keep her laptop open just a little bit longer before getting cake. I’d like to say we were all writing at the time, but I’m pretty sure Emma was on Tumblr.
The thing is, I don’t always write a great deal at writers group (sometimes I barely manage 500 words, other times I manage 5,000) but that’s not really the point of it anymore. I know, it probably sounds weird, it’s a writers group so the point should be about writing, but it’s evolved into something more. Yes, we’re all writers and we are all attempting to write novels, but we’re also friends. We support each other, we bounce ideas off of each other, we push each other and encourage each other when we’re convinced every single word is rubbish.
If there is one thing I am thankful for, it’s the fact that I suggested starting this writers group. It gave me three of the best friends I can ever ask for.
Are any of you guys in writers groups? Do you find that it helps you with your writing?