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Misty_Blue
11-03-2006, 01:52 PM
Hey guys, I think this might be the right forum to ask this question so here goes anyway..

I'd like to set up a creative writers circle in my home town and would appreciate any advice (from those who are in one, or belong to one). Any tips on how to best begin. I don't have experience in teaching writing, but I thought an informal gathering of wannabe and/or published writers in my area might be beneficial to critique, swap advice, and encourage each other.

My home town is very small but there is nothing like this as far as I am aware, so how would it be best to advertise this do you think, (what would incite you to attend?) Also, do you think hiring a small room or just meeting in a lounge bar at first? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

alleycat
11-03-2006, 03:04 PM
I've never been a member of a writing group like this, but I have seen several start up and then slowly dissipate. They start off with a bang, and end in a whimper (I'm not saying that will happen to your group, just be aware that it often happens). People are excited at first but then come Thursday night or whenever, and one kid is sick, and the spouse gets home late, and the washer overflows . . . and, well, you get the picture.

The last one they had around here met at a room at the library. A bar might be a good idea for your location. Here, there are restaurants with separate areas you can reserve and that makes a good place for certain groups to gather. They can eat, socialize, and talk about their interest all at the same time.

Just some thoughts. Good luck with it.

Misty_Blue
11-03-2006, 03:19 PM
I've never been a member of a writing group like this, but I have seen several start up and then slowly dissipate. They start off with a bang, and end in a whimper (I'm not saying that will happen to your group, just be aware that it often happens). People are excited at first but then come Thursday night or whenever, and one kid is sick, and the spouse gets home late, and the washer overflows . . . and, well, you get the picture.

So true, Alleycat! I remember when Tai-Bo first hit the scene and people were practially exercising on each others heads as it was so popular, now though the poor teacher struggles to get them in the class!!

I guess there is never a 'right' time to arrange for this type of thing - evenings (people are preparing dinner/eating..) mornings/afternoons - (people working..) weekends - (people going away!) Grrr. I'll have to give it some thought!

KTC
11-03-2006, 03:32 PM
Writers are everywhere. I started an on-the-spot group about 4 years ago. I posted a notice and had 9 people for the first meeting. It lasted about 2 years and just continued to grow and change. I had to step away from it because I really got into freelancing. It's still going today. I started one in my home just over a year ago...a critiquing group. I posted a notice and within a day the 8 spots were filled. I still get people calling/emailing and asking to go on the waiting list. But I know the 8 people in the group will be together for a long time yet. We are so strong we've started doing stuff together as a group...we created a chapbook of our poetry and shorts...we go to readings, etc. together.

I guess I'm trying to say there are wanna-be writers everywhere. You post your notices asking for writers to attend a group to discuss the craft...people who have been waiting for years to see that notice will be contacting you. People dream of those notices...look for them. That has been my experience, anyway.

Post your notices in grocery stores/library/bookstores/laundrymats, etc. People will call/email. Writers are dying to become involved with other writers.

alleycat
11-03-2006, 03:37 PM
Another idea, if your writer friends are all online, start a "writing group thread" here. In other words, start a thread in this very forum titled The Flamingo Writing Group, or whatever and invite everyone to participate. Whenever the folks in the group had time they could drop by and discuss their work-in-progress; or they could post their work in Share Your Work for critique. I don't think Mac or anyone would have a problem with doing something like that. Invite others here to post if they have anything to contribute.

Again, just an idea.

KTC
11-03-2006, 03:39 PM
Or...as allycat suggested, only different...start a group at Yahoo or MSN. I have also done that...for my real-life group. We meet once a month...but we meet in our Yahoo group to chat sometimes online...toss ideas back and forth regarding our WIPs. An online component is a great idea.

Misty_Blue
11-03-2006, 03:47 PM
Ooh well done KTC on creating such a successful group - thats just the encouragment I need to lift me off the chair!

Thank you Alleycat - An online thread for the members sounds great, plus I have an ezine I could feature their work on! I could call it 'The Rock Writers Group, since it's in the British Rock of Gibraltar,' I wanna do it..:)

My only doubts are my ability to lead such a thing. I couldn't pretend I'm some great writing guru when I'm not! I could use my current credentials to kick start it, but it would have to be more of a working-together thing, rather than everyone staring blankly at me to show em how its done! (yikes)..

KTC
11-03-2006, 03:50 PM
Hey...guess what? At my first meeting I told the assembled that I am not the 'leader' type. I'm just a guy who wants to surround himself with like minded writers. I want this group to be democratic...we all make decisions, etc.

The only thing I offered, Misty, was the place to call home for the group. We meet at my house...which is a bonus to me...but I don't in any way lead the group. Make it clear at the beginning that all members will form the group and decide on what it will be like.

Misty_Blue
11-03-2006, 04:22 PM
Thanks KTC! How is this for an inviting leaflet? I might post them around this weekend after deciding a venue, if I happen to find one ;)



CREATIVE WRITERS CIRCLE

Ever fancied getting your creative juices flowing and becoming a writer in your spare time? Would you like to join other budding writers or aspiring authors for encouragement and support?

Meet up in a social gathering with like-minded individuals to share your work, exchange ideas on how to get started, and discuss publishing markets and opportunities.

Meeting starting at bla bla, Contact me on Bla Bla

KTC
11-03-2006, 04:25 PM
It sounds perfectly lovely, Misty. Let us know how this fares, once you spread the good word. I have faith that your circle will form.

alleycat
11-03-2006, 04:28 PM
Thank you Alleycat - An online thread for the members sounds great, plus I have an ezine I could feature their work on! I could call it 'The Rock Writers Group, since it's in the British Rock of Gibraltar,' I wanna do it..:)


Of course, you could still schedule a weekly or monthly meeting somewhere, but an online forum would help to keep the group together.

There's no moderator of this forum for some reason (?), but you might want to ask Mac if it's okay to do this here. If for no other reason than just to be polite about it.

Misty_Blue
11-03-2006, 04:36 PM
I shall definately keep you informed if it pans out ok! Sure you dont want to fly over for a few days KTC? ;)

And yes depending on how many people use the internet, I'll definately talk about getting them to the forum..its been great for me so why not others!

Linda Adams
11-03-2006, 05:11 PM
I wrote something up as a guest blogger on leading critique groups: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/KarenDionne/
(It's about the third entry down).

It's all things we learned after doing a local critique group for three years.

By the way, the most effective advertising we've seen for our group is on the Internet. Even our regional writing organization has found that almost no one looks at flyers that are displayed. I guess they're like commercials--everyone is so used to seeing them that they just ignore them. This is what we put up on the Internet for the group http://www.hackman-adams.com/WIW.htm in addition to a listing on the regional writing organization's site. Maybe you could have the library list your critique group.

Mandy-Jane
11-03-2006, 05:22 PM
My only doubts are my ability to lead such a thing. I couldn't pretend I'm some great writing guru when I'm not! I could use my current credentials to kick start it, but it would have to be more of a working-together thing, rather than everyone staring blankly at me to show em how its done! (yikes)..

I've been there. I helped to start a writing group a few months ago and we started off with good numbers, but lately numbers have been dropping. At our last meeting there were 3 of us - very disappointing.

Anyway, at one of our recent meetings, the lady who usually runs it was sick, so because I was one of the "founders" of the group, guess who had to run it? I was absolutely terrified. But all I did was just be myself. I didn't pretend to be some great writing guru (although I wish I was); I was just me. And I'm a nice enough person; it all worked out okay. Luckily though, everyone who was there on that day were all newcomers, so they had nothing to compare me to. I guess I did alright (although only one of them has been back since!).

Anyway I'm still looking for ways to get more people interested in my group. I posted a "help me" thread here a couple of weeks ago and got some fantastic advice. I'm currently sorting through it and working out what may work with our group.

And I thought your leaflet wording was great. Only today I was trying to think up some inviting words to re-advertise our group. I really liked your words. That's exactly what I'm working towards.

Anyway, good luck with your circle. I'll keep working on mine!

alleycat
11-03-2006, 05:34 PM
Thanks KTC! How is this for an inviting leaflet? I might post them around this weekend after deciding a venue, if I happen to find one ;)



CREATIVE WRITERS CIRCLE


Ever fancied getting your creative juices flowing and becoming a writer in your spare time? Would you like to join other budding writers or aspiring authors for encouragement and support?

Meet up in a social gathering with like-minded individuals to share your work, exchange ideas on how to get started, and discuss publishing markets and opportunities.

Meeting starting at bla bla, Contact me on Bla Bla
And if you need a little logo to go with it, let me know. I use some professional graphics programs. I could do that easily enough.

Misty_Blue
11-03-2006, 06:44 PM
I've been there. I helped to start a writing group a few months ago and we started off with good numbers, but lately numbers have been dropping. At our last meeting there were 3 of us - very disappointing.

Anyway, at one of our recent meetings, the lady who usually runs it was sick, so because I was one of the "founders" of the group, guess who had to run it? I was absolutely terrified. But all I did was just be myself. I didn't pretend to be some great writing guru (although I wish I was); I was just me. And I'm a nice enough person; it all worked out okay. Luckily though, everyone who was there on that day were all newcomers, so they had nothing to compare me to. I guess I did alright (although only one of them has been back since!).

Anyway I'm still looking for ways to get more people interested in my group. I posted a "help me" thread here a couple of weeks ago and got some fantastic advice. I'm currently sorting through it and working out what may work with our group.

And I thought your leaflet wording was great. Only today I was trying to think up some inviting words to re-advertise our group. I really liked your words. That's exactly what I'm working towards.

Anyway, good luck with your circle. I'll keep working on mine!

OH Mandy Jane I do hope it works out for you I'd certainly be there if I were in the same part of the world. That's what I fear (being as shy as hell) Its ridiculous as being a singer I have no qualms about singing to crowds, yet as soon as I have to utter a word I fall to pieces! But then again nothing ventured nothing gained! This has been on my mind for months, and now I feel I should give it a bash at least.

Anyhoo, I shall wish you the best of luck with yours and do keep in touch. Who knows we might both be able to share tips and advice on how to keep the gang together!

Misty_Blue
11-03-2006, 06:46 PM
And if you need a little logo to go with it, let me know. I use some professional graphics programs. I could do that easily enough.

Alleycat thank you, though I dont want to particularly trouble anyone with my scheming ideas. I pulled off the internet some clipart of a quill pen earlier, lol, sorry if thats not very imaginative http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon11.gif

alleycat
11-03-2006, 06:51 PM
Alleycat thank you, though I dont want to particularly trouble anyone with my scheming ideas. I pulled off the internet some clipart of a quill pen earlier, lol, sorry if thats not very imaginative http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon11.gif
How 'bout the quill pen above the background of an open book, or set against the background of the Rock of Gibraltar?

Misty_Blue
11-03-2006, 06:59 PM
or set against the background of the Rock of Gibraltar?

alleycat I love this idea, how original! :Thumbs: How much do you charge? I'm skint lol..!! I can't draw to save my life, matchstick people is what I end up with.

alleycat
11-03-2006, 07:05 PM
Approximately, what proportion do you want it? Height by width (for example, 1Hx2W, or 3Hx2W). The size wouldn't matter; that can always be scaled up or down.

Misty_Blue
11-03-2006, 07:15 PM
I have no idea alleycat. Im planning on printing on A4 white. Thats about it, then I can print a few off without too much trouble. If you'd like I can email you the word doc so you can see what I've done, pm me it if you like?

alleycat
11-03-2006, 07:45 PM
I've done a test logo, Misty. Looks pretty good (for ten minutes of work). If you will PM me your e-mail address, I'll send it to you.