One of the pleasures of being a writer is getting to know others who are equally engrossed in putting words in the right order in an imaginative way. It especially helps to have writer friends if those nearest and dearest have no idea what compels us to spend our time this way - have to admit mine are all very understanding and one of my best friends couldn't be more supportive. But I also feel particularly blessed with a host of writing friends and colleagues and greatly value any time spent in discussing writing-related matters.
I was very lucky to find a good writing group many years ago when I was starting out and the various members over the years have proved inspirational and encouraging, several of them becoming close friends. A few of us regularly meet up for coffee or lunch and a chat and we all feel ready to go home and write afterwards. An offshoot of this is that we all belong to the Scottish Association of Writers and get to meet people from all over Scotland at the annual conference each March.
This past week, I had the pleasure of meeting two new writing acquaintances at the Willow Tearooms in Glasgow, along with one writing friend from Edinburgh whom I've known for several years, and it was very motivating hearing how everyone is doing with writing and publishing novels. At the end of this coming week I’ll be out to lunch with three other writing friends and at the beginning of the following week, there’s a Christmas lunch in Glasgow for the online Scottish Writers group I belong to – although we also try to meet up in person a few times a year.
On Tuesday past, we had the writing group’s annual Dinner and Awards at a local Equestrian Centre and, as always, it was a most enjoyable day. We begin with an afternoon meeting, which this year included judging of a Flash Fiction competition (which I was proud to see my daughter win!) and it was followed by the Awards for the 2013/14 session. I was honoured and delighted to win the Betty Munnoch Poetry Award this year. The unique carved ‘book’ contains an individual plaque on the inside cover with each winner’s name over the years, and a copy of the winning poem is put inside. It is named after a very dear friend and wonderful poet who sadly passed away many years ago.
The day ends with our dinner in an adjoining room when we get the chance to socialise along with the eating and drinking! It’s especially good for chatting to newer members, as we might not have the opportunity during or after our weekly meetings. It’s a lovely tradition of our group now and one which we all look forward to each year.
So if anyone is thinking of joining a writing group, either online or at a real venue, or even if you can only meet up with a few writing friends, I’d encourage you to give it a try. Yes, the quality of groups can vary as people are different personalities, but you just might find lasting friendship and unexpected inspiration.