Writing is a solitary pastime. I don’t mind that. Just as I love to lose myself in a novel, I also like to disappear into worlds of my own making. But on our own, we writers are more vulnerable to discouragment, writers’ block and general staleness.
A solution I heartily recommend would be to join a writers’ group. I belong to several and get different things from each of them. If there isn’t one in your area, start one. That’s what Beverly Ward did in 2006 in Holmfirth Library. Bev’s since moved away but the group has continued to grow from strength to strength.
As well as the encouragement, workshops, manuscript critique and networking common to most groups, Holmfirth Writers’ Group is full of different talents and buzzes with can-do attitudes. So far we’ve produced two anthologies, edited by poet James Nash, Reflections of Holme and Pennine Reflections, with more in the pipeline.
We take part in the Holmfirth Arts Festival in a different way each year. This provides creative challenges, which push us out of our comfort zone, and new experiences to add to our author CVs, important when submitting your work to publishers.
Our library is brilliant. In addition to tea and coffee each week, they provide a venue and promotion for our books, meetings and events. It doesn’t do the library any harm, either, in these days of cuts and threatened closures.
We also support, and are supported by, our local radio station http://www.twovalleysradio.co.uk/ and their sister station in Leeds http://www.elfm.co.uk/. Two Valleys Radio give us a regular slot to read our poems, short stories and excerpts from our novels. They include us in wider events and host our radio plays. They have interviewed me about my memoir, A Life Less Lost, and my debut novel, Once Removed, an extract of which can be heard on their listen again facility.
If they did nothing else but make me laugh and stretch my creative muscles, I’d still say it was worth joining a group.