Every month I attend a Meetup group called Shut Up and Write (or Edit). I was introduced to the group by my friend Janet Reid, she’s a published author who writes for children and young adults. The Meetup’s held at Northside Meetings and Letter Lounge Café & Gifts. You can find out more about the café here: https://www.facebook.com/northsidemeetings/ and here: http://northsidemeetings.com.au/ if you’re not a Facebooker.
In case you know young readers, Janet’s books are The Ruby Bottle and Granny Rags, published by IP Press (http://www.ipoz.biz/). She’s working on another one. Yay!
Judy Gregory, editor, group convenor and dinger-of-the-bell, runs a tight ship and we all sit—heads down, fingers skimming the keyboards—for three, twenty-five minute, stints. Food and drink—consistently good, interesting and varied—from the Letter Lounge is brought by competent staff downstairs to the large, airy meeting room.
On these occasions the room, Helvetica (all their private spaces are font-named), is filled with writers of all sorts. We have someone doing a PhD, researchers, novelists (probably the majority), journalists making the transition from their trade to other sorts of writing, and editors. I sit somewhere between two of the categories but attempt to use the time to write The Novel. Whoever thought you could bash one out in a few weeks has never—I venture to suggest—attempted to write one… Makes me mad when I read those ‘Write your book in 40 days’ things.
All the participants in this group are self-controlled. I need this. I’m not at all disciplined with my writing. I need a deadline to work towards and, because this is something I do for myself, have not been regimented enough to impose such strictures. I did reasonably well last year until something came along to bite me on the bum, then my flimsy structure collapsed. I no longer have an excuse and hope perhaps, by putting this out into the ether, I get enough encouragement from myself and my wonderful regular readers, to gee myself up again.
I love to write. I love the buzz of doing it. I love the feeling of satisfaction when a short story comes together. I love the feedback I receive (yes, even the more direct ones) from the writers’ group to which I belong. I have learnt so much since I joined the group. Interestingly, I was introduced to the group by Janet (see above). Writers and editors are, I have found, generous with sharing their knowledge and expertise.
There is a fantabulous group of editors on Facebook, the members of which solve the smallest to the largest of problems—and in record time. Maybe most creative people are the same. I know friends who paint and they are happy to share their knowledge. I’ve recently had cause to contact both a musician friend and an actor friend; they, too, have been extremely generous with their time and expertise (no egos here).
Isn’t it great that we have the opportunity to share our skills and knowledge to the betterment of us all.