KEYWORDS: writing, development, co-operation, support, publication, advertising, marketing, success
An excellent way to develop your skills, and get published, is to create or join a writing club. I was involved one for about seven years. The group published anthologies of short stories and poems, and some of the writers went on to publish children’s books and novels. I was also involved in the editing and layout for several of the anthologies we published. A suggested system for your group could work as follows:
The Creative Aspect
- A group of writers eager to be part of a group writing and publishing venture gets together to write in a quiet space. If you do not already have a number of keen individuals, advertise for them online, at your local library or on campus, if you are a student.
- Getting started as writers: Writers may write on a subject of their choice or be prompted by a stimulus. Set writing times. Initially, ten minutes is often a good time space for what could be treated as a warm-up. Once the time is up, even if what is being worked on is incomplete, each member reads out what they have written. Special Note: this is not the time to be critical. The idea is to get and keep people writing with the aid of encouragement. It is a case of create first and craft afterwards. Your primary aim is to get your story out on paper, PC or laptop THEN work at polishing it for publication. This is all about process and building as new writers often have a lot to learn. To use an analogy, you are creating the rough diamond or piece of clay first. Once you have created it in the form of a first draft, you then set about shaping it into a desired piece of fiction.
- If members of the group wish to comment after one of the writers has read out his or her work, they are to only mention what they think works. Do not, at this stage, enter any form of criticism. Criticism can have a negative effect on the right hemisphere of the brain (the creative side) send it into melt down. See the end of part one for some useful links.
- The writers may now tackle a new piece or continue with the one on which they were working. This could well be a longer session. If the first was ten minutes, the next could be twenty. Again, people are encouraged to read out what they have written.
- If the writers have not been writing with a cup of tea or coffee at the side, now is the time for refreshments.
- The pieces the writers have created in the group could be left simply as exercises or developed into publishable fiction, be it a poem, short story, novelette, novella or novel.
- On some days you might like to hold discussions concerning issues such as plot or character development or writing through the senses, before tackling more writing while taking into account the contents of the discussion. Times such as these could be informal within the group or you could have a workshop on one or more aspects of writing and invite a local writer to spend time sharing with you. The main aim here are about trying different approaches to writing including exploring a broad range of literary forms. There is great deal that can be found online to assist writers.
Here are links to two useful discussions on the roles of the left and right hemispheres of the brain in the writing processes. Though I have not included any links here, you will numerous discussions online on the actual workings of the human brain.
Part two will follow in three days.
Good luck finding the stories in you. May they sprout forth and grow in abundance.