Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The Value of Writers' Groups

If you are at all interested in writing, in whatever form, then I strongly recommend joining a writers' group.

In 2000, when I was keen to be a scriptwriter, I checked out what was available and joined the Glasgow Screenwriters' Group. It was a great source of inspiration and support and helped me to achieve some progress on the screenwriting front, even if I didn't quite make it as far as getting any of my scripts taken up.

When I decided that I needed to broaden my writing horizons I discovered, through the Scottish Association of Writers, that there was a rather good group on the other side of Glasgow. I joined Strathkelvin Writers' in 2003 Strathkelvin Writers and have been there ever since.

The Club caters for all writing needs - articles, short stories, novels, poetry and drama and the members have a wide range of experience, from beginners, to highly published authors, like Margaret Thomson Davis Margaret Thomson Davis

Strathkelvin is a highly friendly, supportive group and has been responsible for launching the careers of many a writer. At last night's meeting, for instance, there was a 'work in progress' session at which members, myself included, brought along pieces at various stages of readiness and read extracts from them. The reward for 'putting ourselves out there' was a lot of positive feedback, constructive criticism and suggestions for possible markets and ways of developing the writing.

One thing I've always found to be a joy as a writer, is the level of support shown by fellow travellers along the long lonely road, and the genuine pleasure we feel about each others' successes. I remember the first writer I contacted, scriptwriter par excellence Andrew Davies - he couldn't have been more helpful - and I'll never forget the late Jack Rosenthal taking the time to make a 45-minute call to me to talk through a script of mine he'd agreed to read.

Recently, whilst I was striving to get my book on Ian Richardson completed, I received tremendous help and encouragement from Brian Sibley, who did a great job editing the book and still continues to provide support in the 'post natal' stages. Brian, by the way, is an excellent writer and his entertaining and insightful Blogs make for compulsive reading.
Brian Sibley

For several years I've been attending the Scottish Association of Writers' Annual Conference
Scottish Association of Writers

and the Writers' Summer School at Swanwick, Derbyshire Writers' Summer School . This year, in their wisdom, they've invited me to run a non-fiction course.

At both of these gatherings, not only have I learnt a great deal, but I've also made many lasting friendships.

So, the point I'm making is that one of the best places to be for a writer, is in the company of other writers. And if you are starting out, or even somewhere along the road, why don't you find out if there's a writers' group near you? If there isn't, you could find out if there is a published writer in the area who might be willing to help, or contact your local council and see if they can help.


  1. Sounds like a great group and, interestingly, has inspired me to write about a group I joined six months ago - Toastmasters International. No more here but I'll blog about it later today.

    Meanwhile - welcome to Bloggers' world and I look forward to reading more of your posts and 'getting to know you'.

  2. Thanks for your welcome, fellow Sibley-follower, Diva. As you can tell, I'm still very much an 'l' driver on the blogging front.

    I look forward to checking out your Toastmaster Blog later on.