Blessings at Christmas time by Sophie Guest

As I looked around the table at the six people who had turned up to The Woldingham Writers’ Group Christmas Drinks I wondered at the fact that less than two years before I had only known one of them. Back then I had been struggling with the first draft of my novel and I’d wanted something to keep me on track – pregnancy had already interrupted my writing schedule and I’d wanted to re-establish the habit of writing. Alice Clark-Platts suggested I should set up a writing group and so The Woldingham Writers’ Group was born.

Of the six initial members, four have remained in the group and I am still in touch with the other two, hopeful that they will return once they feel able to re-prioritise their writing. The group has grown year on year and we often receive enquiries from potential new members, many of whom go onto join.

I am still struggling with the novel but now I have a group of supportive friends helping me along the way. People who will read my writing and offer me considered feedback, people who will share their writing with me and listen to my thoughts. Sharing your writing as well as giving feedback can sometimes be a scary thing, almost like you are letting someone have a glimpse of your soul. It creates a bond, I think.

We drank the mulled wine and ate the delicious mince pies prepared by Julie at the Village Club and we chatted. We had decided that the Christmas Drinks would not be our usual meeting and that instead we’d simply enjoy the wine and food and get to know each other better. Topics ranged from women in work to planning issues – always a hot topic in Woldingham and then eventually turned to the group. I sipped my mulled wine as we talked about what we wanted to do in 2017, what we had enjoyed this year, whether we’d ever finish our short story collection and what members could do to help me run the group now that I am busy back at work full time and I smiled.

They say you should count your blessings at Christmas time. I count The WWG as one of mine.

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