A blank piece of paper: the most terrifying sight of all for writers. How do you even start? What should you say? And how come all those amazing ideas you had in the bath/car/your sleep are somehow evading you when it actually comes to putting pen to paper? I felt all of these fears and more, yet somehow, with the help of the wonderfully supportive, long-running West London Writers’ Group, I’ve managed to spew out a nearly-finished first draft of my first novel (in between working, blogging and wedding planning, of course).
How? Quite simply, the structure of a weekly writing group, where members come and read out their work to a roomful of other writers bubbling with great ideas, helpful feedback and suggestions, has forced me to actually write that first novel that’s been in my head for some time. Unlike other writing groups, there are no forced exercises or tasks, just the opportunity for you to bring whatever you’re working on or even an idea, or a plotline you’re struggling with, and throw it out to the group for their advice.
The people are wonderfully warm and diverse, all dedicated to improving, finishing and selling their novels, short stories, plays and poems. I’ve heard some amazing stories since I joined over a year ago, from a roomful of extremely talented, non-pretentious and non-judgemental people. Only with this group would I have dared to read out a sex scene!
Sunday night always feels like homework night – I work better under pressure – and I’ll usually sit down and write a scene of around 1,000-1,500 words to read out in class the next day. Somehow all those scenes have woven together and unbelievably a few tens of thousands of words later, I’ve nearly written a novel.
The group meets regularly on Monday nights in Ealing from 7.30-10pm for 3 x 12 week terms, at a cost of £110 per term. It’s facilitated playwright and published writer Lisa Evans.
So, what are you waiting for? Stop procrastinating and start writing. Get in touch with Lisa to find out more about coming along one Monday to observe, without obligation.