The year is just 4 days old. A newborn, really. Bald with a little bit of soft fuzz. Eyes full of wonder at the offerings of the morning. I like January; I like the chance to reset, pull out an empty notebook. The relief of a blank page after the fullness of December merrymaking is as welcome as the lengthening days. This morning I began planning out the sessions for my next Writing Circle - Spilling the Ink. When I book rooms, start putting up posters and open registration for these programmes, I never know who I'll reach and if enough people will come forward to write together. Last fall I had two successful circles meeting for several weeks. It was such a dream and I loved the challenge, the participants, the process, and the result. I felt incredibly lucky to work with these writers and I'm looking forward to sharing their anthology with you later this month. Part of me is still pinching myself that this all happened.
This isn't to say that every workshop I offered last autumn filled completely and easily. Although two programmes filled, I had offered five. The other three didn't quite have enough people to take flight. I figure these are decent odds for starting a new venture. It takes time to grow roots. Just as not every rough draft becomes a finished piece, not every offering will be taken up. The silver lining was that since I had just one group of writers at a time, I could tend the programme deeply.
Because I want to keep my groups small, the margin between 'not enough to run' and 'all spots are filled' is slim. A minimum of four participants gives us enough breadth to create community, a maximum of eight participants ensures that everyone is heard. So it was with a whoop and a holler that I reached enough people this week to confirm that the Harston Writing Circle will definitely run on Friday mornings, 10.00 - 12.00, starting on 6 February. We'll meet for 7 sessions at Harston Village Hall.*
As I mentioned above, I've started planning. Full steam ahead, no holds barred, we're going to write!!
Along with tracing out some new ideas, I enjoyed going back over my notes from the autumn, looking at photos, reflecting on what worked, making changes for this time around. The planning piece is one of my favourite parts of creating these circles. (Truthfully, I like every single part - it's just the waiting on tenterhooks to get enough participants that keeps me in a bit of limbo). Here's a little photo essay showcasing some of what we did last fall:
If you're considering joining us, sign up soon! For more details about Spilling the Ink, read here. Registrations received and paid for by 9 January get a early-bird rate of £87.50 for the programme. After that, the fee is £105 for the seven sessions. Register or ask for more information here.
If you're on the fence, feel free to get in touch and ask any questions. Or look around the website to get a fuller picture of what we do. You might find some of these links helpful:
- FAQs about Writing Circles
- Spilling the Ink - Winter 2015
- What past participants have to say about Writing Circles
- Why I created Writing Circles
- An interview of me by Leigh Chambers at Cambridge 105 fm about Writing Circles
*The Thursday morning Melbourn Writing Circle is looking less likely at this point. I'll make a decision on that one in about a week. If you're interested in that one, please contact me soon.