The Write Stuff
The start of the year is a great time to follow through on something that’s possibly on your bucket list (no, I’m not talking about sky-diving, bungee-jumping or scaling Everest), but a gentler, equally-fulfilling pursuit: writing.
As an ex-teacher, I’d thought about this for some time but always backed out. It seemed just too intimidating. A chance meeting over coffee changed that and I’ve been a member of EuroFAW (a branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers) for 3 years now. We’re a group of about 30 members, split between a daytime and a night-time group. Some members attend both. There’s no compulsion to be at every meeting or to write something each time. We learn as much from listening to others’ writing and discussing it, as we do from our own writing.
Members talk about the support and encouragement they’ve received and appreciate the rigour and discipline it provides. They value the improvement that comes from the critique process and its impetus to keep on writing.
One member commented, ‘Sometimes writing feels like I’m locked in a tower. Even though it’s a nice tower, I recognise the need to get out of my comfort zone. The group is a place to share what I know and learn what I don’t.’
Another member said the group has been instrumental in retraining her cognitive abilities after they’d been decimated by illness and medications.
The program is different each year, with a wide variety and choice of topics, workshops, seminars and excursions. Mostly we prepare a story/poem/non-fiction of approximately 1000 words and read it out at the meeting. This is followed by some gentle, positive critiquing – very useful once you’ve got the bug and want to improve. Many of the stories are hilarious, others poignant, as we experiment with different styles and genres. Some of our members have had novels published and the group has compiled 3 anthologies, with another due out this year.
For those who like to write longer pieces and prefer more in-depth critiquing, we have 2 smaller critiquing groups, who meet at a time and place negotiated by the people in it.
We welcome new members at any stage of the year, so come along, check us out and take the plunge!
Rosie Toth, Publicity Officer