I joined a writers’ group …

I seem to be juggling several balls in the air at the moment, and on Monday I added another. I joined a new writers’ group.

I’ve been looking for a writers’ group ever since I moved to Yorkshire from Birmingham in 2004. Back home I had been a member of the now defunct Birmingham Writers’ Group, I was a founder member of the Birmingham Writers’ Circle (BWC), and I was a long-standing member of Solihull Writers’ Workshop (SWW). In fact, I am still in touch with SWW and have Facebook friends from those days, and even one I never met.

NaNoWriMo does have regional groups, and I did join the Leeds branch – and, again, I’m still friends with writers I met there. But NaNoWriMo is very much a 50,000-word novel, and sometimes a 50,000-word non-fiction book, and that isn’t all that I write.

I was also missing the social interaction with other writers, the reading out of work, and the instant feedback.

During the past 15 years I have half-heartedly cast around for a local writers’ group I could join.

There was an established one in Barnsley at a place called Worsbrough (pronounced Wuzz-brough), but that was on a Thursday morning, and I wanted something of an evening.

There was also one, I can’t remember where, that was on a Saturday, but I like to keep weekends free for spending time with my husband and visiting family.

And there was one in Holmfirth and another in Shepley, both of an evening. And while we lived on the edge of the Pennines, either of those might have worked. Unfortunately, now that we’ve moved to the other side of Doncaster, and the other side of the A1, let alone the M1, those are both too far for travelling of an evening, especially in winter.

A couple of weeks ago I spotted a flyer on Facebook, from Barnsley Library, announcing a new writers’ group in a place called Goldthorpe. It was scheduled for 3:30pm until 4:30pm on a Monday afternoon, and I ummed and ahhed. But in the end I thought perhaps a daytime group was the way forward. And this was a brand new group that wouldn’t already have any cliques.

And so, on Monday, at around 2:45pm, off I pootled to Goldthorpe to have a look at this new group. There were five of us, which is three more than we had when we founded the subsequently very popular BWC, and one other person who had enquired but didn’t show. (The weather was particularly bad around here on Monday, with several roads flooded.)

We had a chat and a coffee and we threw around some ideas on how to move forward, and the upshot is that we meet again next Monday at the same time. And we have homework. We have to write 200 – 1,000 words prompted by the theme “steam trains”.

Am I too busy to juggle another ball? Have I made a rod for my own back? Probably. Do I need more work? Definitely not. But I’m going to give it a good pop. I mean, I just rattled this off in a few minutes, and it’s 530 words. How hard can 200 – 1,000 words be …?

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