In May, I participated in WordCount's Blogathon blog challenge hosted by Michelle Rafter. This was my first blog challenge, and I learned so much and met so many wonderful people. One of them was Liz Sheffield who I am honored to have guest posting today about a wonderful idea: Women Write Night. Thanks, Liz!
A little over a year ago I started thinking of ways that I could regularly connect with other writers. I kept meeting women writers – at my day job, at my son’s school – and many of us talked about not having time to write. Like me, I hoped they might be interested in meeting once a month just to write. I say “just” because I wasn’t interested in a critique group, or in reading my work out loud. As the mother of two young sons, what I wanted was a few guaranteed hours each month that I could dedicate to writing.
Women Write Night celebrated its one-year anniversary last month with a party at my house – appetizers, drinks and readings by three of our members. We realized that when we all show up once a month to write, we don’t know what anyone is writing. This party was the perfect chance to hear the amazing words of some of our fellow members.
Below are four steps I took to start Women Write Night. If you’re inspired, I hope you’ll use them to start your own group!
Get focused: know why you want to bring a group together. Without that focus, you may end up with a group that doesn’t provide for you what you hoped. Is this a group for “just” writing or will you be sharing your work and asking for input?
Generate interest: Check in with other local writers you know and see if they’d be interested in joining you each month to write. Once you have three or four other people committed to your idea, you’ll be sure to have at least one other person to write with you each month. (There is nothing worse than planning a gathering and having no one show up.)
Grab a nearby location: Search around for some free locations where you can meet. Libraries often have meeting rooms, maybe there’s a café with a room you can reserve if everyone buys a coffee? Or, if you have space in your home, pull up chairs around the dining room table. Be sure to have enough outlets wherever you land – in our group of more than a dozen writers, I am one of two people using pen and paper. Everyone else brings a laptop.
Go virtual: A few months in advance, I send out an Evite to the same list of writers with information about when and where we’ll be meeting. I’m always sure to remind people to invite others who may be interested. The Evite format helps me easily track the number of attendees as well as update the group quickly in the event of a cancellation or change.
Be glad and write: Congratulate yourself for starting a group, write like crazy that first meeting and most of all: be glad! You’ve given yourself and other writers a true gift and it’s going to be great.
If you have questions or start a group, please let me know. I’d love to hear how this process works for other writers.