Welcome to my interview with Sarah Schofield from Ormskirk Owls.
Hello Sarah. Can you please tell us a bit about your writing group?
I am a member of Ormskirk Owls writing group, based in Ormskirk, Lancashire. We meet on the first and third Monday of each month at 7.30pm at Peter House, next to the parish church. The group has been running for nearly 50 years now.
How many members does, on average, does your group have?
We have about 20 members, but generally average at about 10 – 15 people at each meeting.
Who are you and what is your role within the group?
I am the club secretary, so I take minutes, and ensure all relevant information about meetings, writing opportunities etc. are circulated around the group.
How are your sessions structured?
We are very informal and friendly, so like to have a natter as everyone arrives, and catch up. Then we begin our session, and have a coffee break about half way through.
What types of things do you cover in your group?
We do all sorts of different activities in the group. We have manuscript evenings, where members can read their work and receive gentle constructive critiques, themed manuscript nights, write-on-the-nights, workshops, visiting speakers, literary evenings… all sorts! And we like to try new ideas out too.
What have been some of your most popular/successful activities?
Everyone likes manuscript evenings. It’s a chance to share your work and improve it.
What genres do the members of your group write?
There is incredible diversity and this is what makes the group so exciting to be part of. We have fiction writers, novelists, poets, non fiction writers… you name it! We like trying different genres too, challenging ourselves to try something we haven’t done before.
Have you ever written collectively as a group, such as producing an anthology?
Owls has a great history of producing anthologies. These have sold locally and through local book shops.
What kind of support does your writing group provide for its writers?
We try to encourage each other, offer feedback on work, circulate info about competitions and writing opportunities. It is a very friendly, supportive environment in which to try out new work.
Where do you get your ideas/writing prompts from?
The world is full of strange, beautiful and curious things…
You're telling me! What's the best piece of writing advice you've been given?
Stop thinking about writing and write.
What's the best piece of writing advice you give?
To be a great writer you have to read great stories. The best writers are readers.
Do you have guest speakers at your group?
We have lots of guest speakers. Most recently it has been poet Andrew Taylor and performance poet Martin Daws.
Do members of the group get a chance to run/lead a session or part of a session?
Yes. Owls members lead workshops, and all share in creative feedback.
Does your writing group have a website/blog/Twitter/Facebook.
We have a Facebook page Ormskirk Writers and Literary Society (OWLS) and a blog www.ormskirkowls.blogspot.co.uk.
How would someone go about joining your writing group?
Just email me. Or turn up on the night. We love to see new faces! All who have an interest in writing are welcome, whether you are a secret scribbler, or widely published.Thank you Sarah.