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Some time long before the Covid-19 pandemic, I used social media to publicise Ely Writers, a writing group based in Ely, to gather more interest in meeting up in person.
Only five years, including a pandemic during which the whole country was locked down, later, this publicity has worked!
Someone in the Facebook group wondered about meeting up in person, so I braved Facebook’s polling system, and set a time, date and place for our first new meeting based on the results. It was a reunion of Ely Writers, but with different people.
Ely Writers’ first meeting of the new series of meetings
Eight people, including me, turned up, and we had a jolly good time talking about writing. We did the requisite introductions, talking about what we’re writing. We did a bit of free writing to wake up our creativity, with some of us deciphering our own handwriting out loud for the others to hear, then discussed problems and triumphs that we had experienced recently. We heard a couple of readings, which were great. I omitted the writing/together part because there wasn’t time.
We were talking about characterisation, so I shared the idea of scribble chats with the group, which I’d learned about at meetings with my other writing group.
Finally, I asked if the meeting had been useful, and what else they would like to happen. They said it had been useful – I was very relieved to hear that! – and that they would like to use the meetings to hold them to account in terms of actually writing stuff, as well as discuss problems and celebrate triumphs. That seemed good to me.
Ely Writers’ second meeting of the new series of meetings
Our second meeting was in a different venue because the first was too loud. There were fewer of us, but it was productive. We said how much or how little progress we’d each made, then did a spot of free writing for five minutes. Some members were surprised at how much you can actually write in five minutes. Some of us read out what we’d scrawled – there were some nuggets in the off-the-top-of-one’s-head scribbles, too.
After that, we discussed problems that a couple of us had encountered. One member was stuck deciding between several possibilities for how a machine in his story might work. It was obvious that his passion lay with the first idea he described, so we brainstormed our way to something he was excited by and could work with, which I count as validation of the group, and a success.
Writing together had to be scrapped again because of time; I’m not going to bother with it at the next meeting, unless we run out of things to say (unlikely).
The future of the new series of meetings
It’s early days, but I think this second wind might have legs (if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors), and that makes me happy.