Writing in 2015

Curating a sense of time and space. ALSO - Early bird registration ends tomorrow (9 Jan)

DSC07497cbb I spent some time today going through writing from the autumn Writing Circles. We are compiling an anthology with contributions from each writer. As I thought about each piece, I tried putting it in the larger context of the collected body of work we’ll soon share. Would the poetry balance well with the stories and the personal essays? Would the voices of different writers standing next to one another create a harmony richer than the solo strains of the pieces alone? How might I best present this work?

More than just collecting a writing sample from everyone, I felt I was trying to curate a sense of our time together.  I wrote each participant a short email with suggestions or questions about their work, looking for one more way to connect before we all move on with a new year and new writing groups. My hope is that the combination of all those voices and styles will reflect the depth and breadth of the space we created in our Writing Circles last autumn.


The anthology will be ready in about a week!   I’m so looking forward to sharing it here. Please come back and see what we wrote.

A few updates:

  • The next Writing Circle, Spilling the Ink, starts on 6 Feb at Harston Village Hall. Note: this is one week later than originally planned.  
  • We will meet for 7 weeks on Friday mornings from 10.00 – 12.00, from 6 Feb – 27 Mar, except 20 Feb.
  • The course is filling, but a few spaces remain. Tomorrow (9 Jan) is the last day to register at the discounted rate of £87.50. After tomorrow, the fee is £105. However, if you register with a friend/writing buddy, I’ll discount both your fees by £15 (fee will be £90 for each).
  • The Melbourne programme, on Thursday mornings, has been postponed.
  • After the Harston programme, the next Writing Circle will be in June or September 2015.  This is the last one until summer - why not sign up and make 2015 the year you started to write?

Want to join us and let your creative cats out of the bag this winter? Register here.

And before I sign off, some words from one of the participants:

For anyone considering joining a writing circle…

Melissa creates a warm, encouraging and non-judgemental space to explore any genre of writing of interest to you. Every week Melissa leads the group to explore different aspects and approaches to writing using a series of prompts and resources. There were eight of us in the initial group, each of us with a different agenda, from articles, poetry and fiction to historical research and teaching. I came to the group with an interest in haiku and left wanting to combine my artwork with my interest in folklore and fairy tale.

Melissa spreads her hand woven cloth at a table that she lays with love and consideration, pulls out a chair for you take your place, creates a space for you to discover what you really want to say and takes great delight in accompanying you on the journey…    

- Nicole Hague-Andrews

Getting Ready

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!!

Planning for Spilling the Ink

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:

Writing from art

Creating our personal universe decks.


Teas, coffees, and snacks keep us going.

Sharing a space for weaving words into story.

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:

*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.