Welcome to my interview with Tracey Dawson from Gamlingay Writers' Group.
Hi Tracey, can you tell us a bit about your writing group?
We are Gamlingay & District Writers' Group. We meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 7pm. We currently meet at members’ homes as this is friendlier (and cheaper!) than hiring a hall. The meetings are not always held at the same person’s home, but the location is never far from the Gamlingay area. I founded the group four years ago.How many members, on average, does your group have?
Maybe 15, but the average at meetings is eight. We also have some ‘virtual’ members – one in Scotland who moved there after coming to the group a few times and one in France who’s the friend of someone who’s a member and who has a holiday home in France.
Who are you and what is your role within the group?
Tracey Dawson (Mrs) MA APMI, Senior Pensions Policy Manager. I founded the group nearly 4 years ago. I am the chair, vice chair, secretary & treasurer.
How are your sessions structured?
We set ourselves monthly targets (e.g. enter a comp; write x words of a novel etc.) so I run through the targets, go through who’s entered a comp etc. I will attach a newsletter. Then we go through the stories. We have a monthly theme and spend three weeks writing on the theme, then distribute by email a week before the meeting so we can come prepared with comments. The ‘main’ bit of the meeting is commenting on each others’ stories.
What kind of support does your writing group provide for its writers?
Emotional support and encouragement; friendly critique.
What types of things do you cover in your group?
Go through stories and help each other. I also organise speakers now and then, and we have a Christmas meal in January and a social event in summer.
What have been some of your most popular/successful activities?
Christmas meal; Teresa Benison and Sarah Harrison as speakers.
Apart from those two, have you had any other guest speakers?
As above, plus Christine Adams who wrote about her aunt bodily moving a house from London to Norfolk. Having Midge Gillies next month. They are depressing to organise – a lot of hard work and low attendance, but they always provide a real lift to the group, so I am persisting for the time being.
What genres do the members of your group write?
Lots of diversity. Everything from gentle romance to futuristic to experimental. Also some poetry.
Have you ever written collectively as a group, such as producing an anthology?
Yes, we did an anthology. I will send you a copy for £2 plus postage!
Where do you get your ides/writing prompts from?
We set the program once a year so everyone can contribute ideas.
What is the best piece of writing advice you give?
I provide relentless encouragement & enthusiasm.
Do members of the group get a chance to run/lead a session or part of a session?
No. I have asked and no-one wants to.
Does your group have a website/blog/Twitter/Facebook?
www.gamlingaywriters.org.uk. I have FB on my ‘to do’ list atm, but I’m not sure if I can be bothered.
How would someone go about joining your writing group?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me (contact details are on the website). I will then give further details.
Thank you Tracey.