Welcome to my interview with Betty Taylor from Codsall Writers.
Hello Betty. Can you tell us a bit about your writing group?
Codsall Village HallTuesday mornings 9.30 – 12.30We meet three weeks out of four (due to room availability)Group established some 20+ years ago and it is now a Community Learning Group.
How many members, on average, does your group have?
What is your role within the group?
Group leader / chairperson / organiser.
How are your sessions structured?
Members all contribute suggestions for writing topics. A programme is compiled. As far is as practically possible, the member who suggested a particular topic is invited to chair that week’s meeting. The person chairing the meeting is also expected to provide the five-minute writing exercise. Sometimes this can take the form of a quiz or some form of conundrum to work the grey matter.
Even with others chairing meeting I endeavour to keep the meeting on track as it is so easy to lapse into general discussion.
· Everyone invited to declare something they’ve seen read or heard during the week relating to writing, literature, etc. 2 minutes per person to report on a new word, book read, TV drama, conversation etc.
· Each person reads their piece on week’s topic. The group then comment / criticise the piece read.
· Short coffee break
· Five minute writing exercise – again these are read aloud and comments given.
· Brief discussion on next week’s ‘homework’.
· At the end of the meeting if anyone has personal writing to share they may do so if time allows.
What types of things do you cover in your group?
Over the past year we have covered various topics, including:
- Stones Take the word ‘stones’ as your inspiration – interpret it as you will – beaches, graveyards, rolling, diamonds, faces….
- Disaster or Divine? A day when everything went wrong – or right (fact or fiction)
- Time of Year: What time of year do you really dislike and would like to sleep through?
- Childhood Games: Write a rhyme suitable for a game of skipping OR write about games played when you were young.
- Food: Food is all around us – write a story or poem set entirely around taste.
- Unsung Heroes: The world is full of unsung heroes (and heroines). Discuss an act of kindness or generosity that you have witnessed.
That sounds very interesting and diverse. Do members of the group get a chance to run/lead a session or part of a session?
Yes – everyone takes a turn at being chairperson and supervising a writing session.
Have you ever written collectively as a group, such as producing an anthology?
What kind of support does your writing group provide for its writers?
We offer encouragement and positive feedback. A couple of social events each year.
Where do you get your ideas/writing prompts from?
Suggestions from members. My own ideas. Ideas from writing magazines / relevant books.
What is the best piece of writing advice you've been given?
Keep writing and believe in yourself.
What is the best piece of writing advice you give?
There are no dull subjects, only dull writers. I think a good writer can attempt to make anything interesting by applying a new ‘angle’ – putting the topic into an interesting context – being inventive.
Do you have guest speakers at your group?
No – funds don’t run to speakers.
Does your writing group have a website/blog/Twitter/Facebook?
And finally, how would someone go about joining Codsall Writers?
Ring or e-mail me. I would send details and a copy of our programme. He/she would be invited to turn up for a couple of sessions to ascertain if we suit his/her needs .Thank you Betty.