Creative Writing Group

Published 11/02/2012 by Lily Crussell

I found a local writing group at my town library, which dealt with creative writing. I thought I would pop along as it has been so long since I actually wrote anything, and I mean anything. It’s all been promotion, advertising and basically everything that isn’t writing. Anyhoo, I signed up, turned up… and was the youngest one there by a long shot. Nice in a way, but also slightly uncomfortable. The feeling that you don’t belong or that it’s a birthday party you weren’t invited to.

*I have to take a moment to gather my thoughts as my partner is currently blaring sclub 7 out of his laptop. I am deeply ashamed and unable to think* *Oh, now it’s s-club juniors, god help me*

Anyhoo, youngest person there, also a Vegan which is always a fun way to segregate yourself further. they were offering tea and biscuits. I asked if they had soya milk and the woman answered; ‘Semi-skimmed, yes of course’ I told her I meant Soya milk and she looked at me like I had asked for a glass of blood. I also couldn’t have the biscuits and stupidly hadn’t had breakfast. A rumbling stomach is not helpful when people are trying to concentrate.

That aside, the teacher introduced herself and asked us what we hoped to get out of it etc. We then went around and were given random words to write a short passage about; lupin, butterfly, wings, adventure etc. We were given ten minutes and then read in turn what we had written. I’ve never read my work aloud, ever. Admittedly I didn’t feel too nervous as it was something we were only given ten minutes to write so it wasn’t something I felt too protective over (i.e if I had spent four years working on a novel and had to read that out

*having to stop to inform my partner about washing clothing ‘le sigh’*

Anyhoo, the area they had set aside for us in the library was essentially a few chairs in the busiest part between two books rows. Customers were poking in and out with no shame for the fact that we were trying to work, bringing their screaming children across and not even being apologetic about it. I get that it’s a public place, but I would never be so rude as to strike up a loud argument with my partner right next to a reading/writing group. I probably sound like a complete snob, but it’s just rude and not easy to concentrate and no less so to read out your work when you have several people gawking at you. It was a good, productive two hours, the teacher was great and everyone was very nice, I just thought the location was a bit useless, you could barely hear each other talk and some of the people at the class (must be regulars) seemed intent on having all focus on themselves and their work. Most seemed to be retired women (there weren’t any males at the class) who had decided to take it on as a hobby, and I think that’s great, but I suppose I expected everyone to be willing to give each other the time to shine and give equal encouragement. The teacher said she didn’t allow anyone to comment (good or bad) on each others’ stories as that wasn’t what it was about, and I though that was definitely a good thing as some of us were very shy about our work (one woman refused point blank to read anything out, so I didn’t understand what she hoped to gain from it all) Maybe I’ve just been cooped up in the house too long due to one thing or another and am forgetting how to interact with other human beings, or maybe I just expected too much, but it was definitely a positive experience in the sense that i got to go somewhere where people had similar interests as writing can be a very insular, antisocial past time. It is people locking themselves in rooms to type madly (or not in the case of bleeping writers block) and everyone around you not really understanding your reasoning for it.

My beloved is an incredibly supportive man, who would do just about anything for me and to support me, but I know he doesn’t understand that sometimes I have to shut the door and not come out for a while, that I am irritable when I can’t get out what I’m trying to say, that sometimes writing a blog entry needs concentration (hence the bleeping s-club 7!) and that we as a group are a pretty eccentric, mental bunch (no offence intended to any other writers) hat hear voices in our heads (hopefully our muses and not voices telling us to burn things lol) and live in our heads more often than in the real world.

One thing I did gain from the writing group was a little hope. We’re all constantly told that we’ll make no money from this profession, we will always be on the bread line, unable to turn on the heating so we can buy stamps (that is actually my life right now lol) begging on street corners to have our manuscripts read and filling drawers with rejections…BUT! The lady teaching my course was about to go on a writing retreat to Morocco and another in Spain in mid winter, and being paid for it. She gets paid to go to hot countries and talk about writing. And having searched for her extensively on the net, I can’t find that she has had anything published. So kids, skip the whole publishing gig, and go do a retreat! Go to the sun! Tell people how NOT to get published (I am most definitely an expert at this now!) and use your common sense to fix people’s work and kill their writer’s block! Urgh I hate how cynical I am getting, but I feel like I am constantly beating my head against a wall to get somewhere and some people seem to find it so easy! Might go listen to some s-club 7 and get myself in a real tizz. Apologies for the ‘bleeping’ I don’t like swearing but find sometimes bleeping myself out makes me feel the same release as if I had actually done it. I do it when talking too. ‘I bleeping hate that!’ etc. All part of being an eccentric (read mental) writer. I blame the meds, always blame the meds ;p (or failing that, your parents!)

Love and hugs

Lily x


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