It's a very difficult job and the only way to get through it is we all work together as a team. And that means you do everything I say.
-Charlie Croker (Michael Caine), The Italian Job
A good portion of the entries on this blog are examples of how to develop creativity with group writing exercises. I’ll explain how to perform the exercises, then give my example of what the task helped to produce.
The majority of these exercises are the fruition of the meetings at Writers Connect, a fortnightly-meeting group in Manchester. I’ve been with the group for over a year, and we have a good core of regular contributors who are all becoming damned fine writers.
The group meets fortnightly on Sundays. We meet in the Costa Coffee section of Waterstones in Manchester’s Arndale Centre at 1pm. We’ll start with a ten-minute exercise like the ones detailed on this site. We’ll then listen to people’s stories and poems.
If you’d like feedback on your work, turn up with 6 typed and stapled copies. We’ll dish out the copies for people to make notes on, and we’ll normally read out our own work. Reading and listening give us two ways of spotting errors and weaknesses.
We might do this a little differently in future- it’s suggested that we read out another contributor’s work and we let others read our own. This might help us to spot things we didn’t notice when writing.
Writers Connect is a fair but critical group. It isn’t a group offering mindless praise for writing of all levels. It IS a group for adults of all abilities, although a few of us have had our work published. But it is essentially a group that prepares writing for publication. This can mean dissecting a story or poem and weeding out what doesn’t work.
But we’re really nice! No, really! We all have open minds, senses of humour and strong stomachs. So feel free to join us over a coffee and we’ll give a helping hand.
Here’s the Meetup group, where we post messages and organise meetings.
I look forward to seeing you there.
Charlie Croker wannabe-s need not apply.