For me one of the most helpful and interesting things is that I joined a writing group – actually now two groups. Each group is entirely different and are rewarding in different ways.
What each group has in common is a bunch of talented people getting together doing something they are all passionate about. Also they have a love for language and what it can convey. Both groups publish anthologies. But that is where the similarities stop.
The CSFG has a wide membership of people interested in writing horror, fantasy, paranormal romance, steam punk etc. This, it seems to me, requires a certain type of mindset. This group also has a vital role in that it helps new and/or unskilled writers to learn the craft through affiliations, monthly presentations, members helping members and through the online presence. It also connects members to the larger writing community in part through the ACT Writers. I have found it very interesting and a learning experience to be a member of this group. There is also a monthly critique group (for short stories and books) but it is voluntary and very useful to attend.
The Eurobodalla Writers (members of both the ACT Writers Centre and a branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers) are, in large part, people from an earlier, sometimes more genteel, time. The overall age of the group is between 60 to 90. What is fascinating about being a member of this group is that they require a 1000 word piece every fortnight with a set topic, and lately the option of including a 100 word Drabble. This is read out at the meetings and feedback is provided on the spot – gently and sincerely. The group has varied backgrounds from one of the most interesting writers having taught himself how to write English properly (words and grammar), even though he was born and educated in Australia. He has done it so well that his writing is most evocative. There are splendid poets, fascinating biographers and brilliant story tellers.
From each group I have learned different skills. It has been a most interesting education which I think is still in progress and hopefully will never stop.
Finally, I have found that being a member of the ACT Writers Centre has also provided, along with information through the CSFG, significant information on what is required to get published and a myriad of places that are looking for interesting, well written stories and books.
Guess that Google ‘writing groups in the ACT’ paid off for me.
Here is a Drabble to finish off with:
Sydney and Joy
Memories and reality are suffused with joy as I smell the salty breeze from the harbour that vies with the chlorine vapours from the North Sydney Olympic Pool at my right. The squeals of patrons riding the Big Dipper at Luna Park to my rear commingles with those of children in the pool. I gaze at the white sails of the Opera House framed by the coat hanger of the Bridge, complemented by the tall buildings at the Quay and lit by a westering sun. This scene grew with me as I traversed my childhood.