Since October or so, Sarah and I have been going to a creative writing group inManchester. Sarah told me about it and I started to go with her and now we try and go every week or as often as we can. I’ve always wanted to join something like this because it’s fun to meet new people, especially other people who have an interest in something creative! I’ve made new friends there, built my confidence and I always have a wonderful time.
It can be quite intimidating to join a group with new people and I was really nervous about going the first time, even though I was with Sarah. Honestly though, this was a very easy group of people to settle in with. I haven’t come across much judgement from anyone which is lovely because I find in creative groups like this, there can tend to be quite a lot of it. In the past, I’ve come across quite pretentious people who judge, for example, that our blog is mainly YA fiction, or the books I love or the films I enjoy. Or even people who don’t care about what others have to offer and what they are interested in. But I can truly say that after going for a few months, I am very comfortable to share my own ideas and 99% of people who go are interested in everyone’s writing.
The way it works is we start by seeing if anyone has anything they would like to read out, and it can be anything – stories, screenplays, poetry, even just a few lines of ideas or a synopsis. The styles range too which is wonderful as you can have a very sad, dark story followed by a funny poem. People then offer advice, praise and constructive criticism and it’s always so friendly and no one is ever put down because of their ideas or style.
After a quick break, we do two visual prompts. Everyone sees the same picture and we have fifteen minutes to write something based off that or even just something irrelevant that has come to mind. We then go round and whoever wants to can read theirs out. Again, there is no pressure to read. This is my favourite part – I adore hearing all the different ways people interpret an image, however simple or complex it is. I am constantly fascinated by how differently we all see the world and I think these prompts are a little snippet of this. I honestly feel inspired by the end of the night and I thoroughly enjoy going whenever I can.
For me (and I think Sarah too), going to this and seeing how it’s ran really made me more confident about bringing our online LGBTQ+ book club into ‘the real world’. I was both excited and nervous and we had been talking about it before going to this creative writing group, but seeing how people interacted and meeting with familiar faces and new each week really built my confidence in starting our own club. Of course, they are completely different in terms of content and style, but I honestly am very grateful to the group for this.
I’ve spent more of my spare time creative writing again now. I’ve got back into writing short stories and scripts which I hadn’t done much of for a long while. It helps me to feel inspired and motivated and I love to put my music on and set off writing whatever comes to mind or something I’ve been working on for ages.
The group is on at Chapter One Books, a cafe in Manchester city centre, at 6:30pm every Tuesday. I encourage you to come along and give it a go if you’re in the area. There are new people coming all the time, so you’ll never be treated like the odd one out!