I am looking into starting a general writing group in Northcote, Victoria in the new year. For those who know the suburb and its surrounding area, there is a great creative buzz in these parts and its seems like every second person I stumble across is incubating a novel or doing some kind of creative writing.
Writing groups can of course be very useful tools for a writers' development, and they can also be shocking bad and disencouraging at the worst, and a lacklustre waste of time at best, if not run well.
If I do get it off the groud, the group will be based on the very successful Original Writers Group in South London run by Rupert Davies-Cook, which I attended in its formative days back in 2006 and remains to this day by far the most uplighting and constructive collective writing event I have ever attended. The new group would be called The Original Writers Melbourne, and has Rupert's blessing and permission to use the 'brand'.
Rupert's approach was that a writing group should be open to all who wishe to attend and should not limit the sort of writing people want to share and gain feedback on. He also fostered a atmosphere that tried to encourage novice writers to be open with their work and feel comfortable in gaining and learning from feedback. Rupert already had a lot of experince in running focus groups and such and is a very even handed and affable man with a real knack for moderating a group in such a way that certain voices didn't drown out others and comments were directed in a constructive manner.
I am not sure that I have the same moderating skills as Rupert, but I certainly intend to try. I will post more on this if and when it develops further. I am looking at venues at the moment.
I do have to be a little honest in my intentions in setting up the group. It's a positive thing in itself that I will benefit from, for sure, but a major motivation is that I have a lot of interesting projects to do next year, but I also wanted to get out and meet new people, as lot of the old ones have moved elsewhere or I don't see much these days. Setting this up myself, and a few minutes walk from my house, is my way of ensuring that no matter how busy I get with projects, I will still get out of the house and meet new writers.
Here is the link to the Original.. Original Writers group http://www.theoriginalwriter.com/ If you are in London and are looking for a writing group, in my view this is an essential first port of call.