The Woldingham Writer’s Group met on Tuesday 12th March, a cold, clear night. We met in a brightly lit church hall; inside, there was tea and biscuits. Outside, pools of light from the windows outshone the pale moon. But neither the moon nor electric lights were enough to stop me from plunging into a deep muddy puddle when I stepped out of the car.
After some formalities – for we are a proper association with minutes and rules and officials – we discussed our recently published poetry collection “Where fishermen stand”.
As we had a new member present, we all spent a little time going introducing ourselves. It’s always interesting and worthwhile to hear even a very little of someone’s back story. Where are you from? What motivates YOU to write?
We considered who we might ask to come and address us at our meeting – authors, publishers, speakers. Getting a good programme lined up is always important. We thought about possible writing retreat days, and made a date for such a day later in the spring. Everyone thought that such days were really quite excellent – even if just taken as times of peace and rest and change from the hubbub of daily life.
Then we got onto the real purpose of the evening, which was to review and critique one another’s work. We discussed a piece on a mother’s feelings at seeing her son off to a new life in the big city. There was another piece about an evacuee in the war. These were linked by trains – beginnings, new things happening – starting at the station. Then someone read out a scary piece about a weyr-lady in faraway Alaska, and we thought that was good.
Each person brought a snippet of something they had created. Maybe some words, maybe just ideas. Maybe, organising and making things happen. Maybe, just being there and being nice. Our writer’s group is more than the sum of the individual members, and like writing, it is worthwhile on its own.
Our next Away Day will take place on 19th May in Woldingham. Further details can be found on our events page.
In January Sheila hosted us and we started planning our next collection – to be a combination of poetry and short fiction. We also discussed other plans for 2019 and shared our thoughts on what we all wanted from the group. Continuing the exercises and feedback work was the main theme (as well as working on the new collection). We also decided to research some speakers and to try to hold some workshops during the year. Members also enjoy the away days so more of them will be planned.
In February we met at Woldingham Church room and all agreed it to be a perfect venue for our meetings. Janine told us about the planned art exhibition for 2020 in Woldingham in which the WWG will play a part and we reviewed the feedback work submitted.
We are meeting next on 12th March so happy writing until then!
We had a fantastic time on Monday evening at our family and friends book launch of Where Fishermen Stand kindly hosted by Neil and Julie at the Woldingham Village Club. All current and some former members of The WWG were there to celebrate our achievement and we had a fantastic turnout of friends and family to help us. Much prosecco and mulled wine was drunk, the mince pies were delicious and we sold a further 15 copies of the book on the evening which the poets happily signed.
The photos below give you an idea of the happiness and cheer involved in the evening – we are so grateful for the support we have received.
The collection will be advertised in the February copy of NAWG’s link magazine and thanks in particular go to NAWG for their enthusiasm and guidance and for publishing Where Fishermen Stand under their imprint.
We have had such great feedback on the collection so far and we all feel incredibly proud of a job well done.
We’ve done it! Our first poetry collection – Where Fishermen Stand – was published on Amazon UK and US this week.* We already have a five star review from one of our readers and are so pleased that our poetry is resonating with people. The book is a perfect showcase for the talent of our group of writers, many of whom had never written poetry before producing some in response to our monthly writing exercises.
The themes for the collection are Place, family and identity – many of the poems involve a combination of the three. It was when we were sorting through the poems submitted that we realised how closely linked these three themes were – can you separate your sense of self from the place where something significant happened or from your family or from the places important to them?
We are grateful to NAWG for their support through the process and for agreeing to us publishing the collection under their imprint. We are also grateful to local artist Sally James who created a piece of art inspired by our title poem which we have used as our book’s cover – we have included a photo below. Thanks must also go to the collection’s editors, Marion and Shahida, without whom we would never have got sufficient momentum to reach this point.
We will be setting up a separate page for the collection this week so if you do purchase a copy then please do leave us a review on that page (as well as on Amazon please), we would love to know what you think!
- The collection is available on all of Amazon’s marketplaces so you should be able to find it on your local site
Sheila kindly wrote a blog piece after our November meeting:
November’s evening meeting was our first meeting after our away day.
One of the members was kind enough to open up her house to us and even had a very tempting cake and a glass of wine to welcome us in on that misty evening.
We shared our latest writing – three poems and another section of a short story about 3 very misbehaved young lads and offered friendly critique.
Then we turned our attention to the progress of our Group’s poetry book. We are so close – our poetry is due to be published at the end of this year.
More good news shared was that our host has found a writing consultant who will review her first novel and work with her to make it the best it can be!
We spent a wonderful day yesterday in Woldingham Village Hall writing together.
This was the second Writing Away Day we’ve held this year – our first was on a snowy day in January – and again the day was a great success.
Our Away Days give all of us a chance to get away from our usual busy lives and provide a dedicated time and space for writing. Finding time (and sometimes space) for writing is often mentioned as a challenge for our members and while we’d all love to go away on a writing retreat (especially to some of the places described in our recent description of a perfect writing place exercise) those same busy lives make an Away Day a more achievable option for many.
So we all brought our notebooks, laptops and packed lunches to the village hall and wrote and talked and ate a lot of cookies and cake (with thanks to Marion who baked for us all).
We shared our work completed during the day and heard about a man suffering from grief magically transported to a place where he could be happy again, the worries of a pair of shoes nearing the end of their useful life and of youths with no money deciding what to do on a rainy day. We also commented on another chapter of a book being written and provided feedback on a synopsis of a novel that was completed that afternoon.
All in all a lot of writing and talking about writing happened during the day and we all left with a sense of achievement.
I look forward to the next one.