A flexible resource
This is designed to be a very flexible resource. It would be very rare indeed for a writing group to meet fifty-two times in one year. Many only meet once a month. Even those who do meet weekly often don’t meet over the summer for a couple of weeks around Christmas time. You can of course pick and choose which sessions you use, or simply work through each one in order and keep going until you run out of material.
You will notice as you go through the resource that the timings add up differently for each session. You may be meeting for an hour, two hours or an hour and a half. With or without a break. You may also be combining these activities with other writerly activities. Members may for instance bring work to share each week in addition. Or you might do the writing exercise one week, and then work on them for the next session where you share the work. You might simply find that you don’t need quite as much time as suggested for each activity – or indeed that you may need a little more. The timings are just a guide.
There are many ways of giving feedback. The activities here suggest a light touch. A full description of how feedback might work is offered at the end of the book. If you feel this is right for your group you may wish to supply a copy of this to members.
You might consider emailing to members copies of any documents they need for the sessions. They can the print them off or upload them to a laptop, tablet or phone.
Who are the members
And what do they want? You will know your members and may adjust the suggested activities accordingly. Do you want just to celebrate each other’s work? Are members looking for really detailed critical commentary? Are they aiming for publication or is writing just a hobby? This might usefully be negotiated in an opening session.
Order and inclusion
Some sessions are a little more demanding than others. Some are more serious and some are more fun. A few need advance preparation. It’s a good idea therefore to read the whole resource from cover to cover and decide which sessions you will include with your group.
About the author
Gill James is published by The Red Telephone, Butterfly and Chapeltown.
She edits CafeLit and writes for the online community news magazine: Talking About My Generation
She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing and has an MA in Writing for Children and PhD in Creative and Critical Writing
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