Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group Post - exploring your creativity within a writers' group.

Aren't the months whizzing by? First Wednesday of the month again, so it's time for Alex J Cavanaugh's IWSG. Here we are to post about what we're insecure about re our writing, or post something that will help our writing buddies out there.
I'm not at home, so have no access to all my stuff, and I know I promised to continue my 10 sneaky tips for writing that novel quickly, but something else is burning on my mind today...

Perhaps the best tip I can offer to give your writing career a boost, or get it started in the first place, or to give you that encouragement you need in the face of rejection is to  - JOIN A WRITING GROUP. Not any old writing group, but one that is just made for you. 

It can be problematic finding a writing group, finding a critique group, finding even a critique partner - all these things are fraught and need to be a good fit, otherwise they detract from our writing career. So today I'll give you my experience of joining a writing group. You may take away something helpful and that is all I ask.

I am a proud member of the Vannguard Writers Group.

Some of us in our favourite hats for our 'hat' writing exercise
I've been a member of the Queensland Writers Centre for sometime. A great resource for writers and just across the river, a 5 minute walk for me. It offers the most amazing courses/workshops/seminars all year round, and as selling short stories is my bread and butter, I decided to attend a Short Story 4-week course earlier in the year. The course was fabulous, but the best thing was that we were a group that jelled right from day one - not everyone of course - but about 8 of us didn't want the comaraderie to finish, so we decided to keep meeting at the same time as our regular courses - each Wednesday from 10.30 - 12.30. As our wonderful tutor was called Meg Vann (who is the incoming CEO of the QWC), we called ourselves Vaanguard Writers. Boy, are we an interesting crowd!

Paul Smith turned up one day in full  gangster garb as he's written a detective novel (and has been a  Private Investigator).

We have been meeting for 6 months or so now. Our major mission is a collaborative project of writing a fantasy novel. We have each taken part in creating the world, and have chosen our characters to place within the world. When our group meets, we devote half of our time to our project and the other half to writing challenges which may/may not be related to our novel. But all improve our creativity. We usually have writing homework and post them up on our Facebook group page, linking to google docs.

Jamie got right into the spirit of things when Charmaine organised  a hat challenge, which she wrote about  here...

What else do we do? We encourage each other to send our work out there - we regularly swap competitions and opportunities and try to send work out there every week. 

We are a diverse group and have much to teach each other. We also bring along special activities to spur our creativity. Before we broke for our school holiday period last week, I brought along an activity which took us into the Queensland Art Gallery, right next door to where we meet in the State Library of Queensland.

The instructions were:
  • Choose a painting
  • Decide whether you're the painter, a character in the painting or an onlooker 
  • Write in first person present tense about what is happening...

I chose Tintoretto's Risen.  I am the sleeping  Roman soldier asleep in the bottom left of the frame. 

Jillanne chose John Faed's Annie's Tryst. 

Charmaine got quite carried away with her story which resulted in murder, mayhem and Gothic characters...

Raelene's The Eviction led to a powerful story from the little girl's POV.

So you can see we have a great time working on our craft at  Vannguard Writers Group . Watch out for our novel - should be out this century!

I hope I've encouraged you to explore your creativity, as that's what writing is primarily about.



This challenge is to celebrate the shared birthdays of your hosts, Denise and Donna. Perhaps you share an October birthday too? 

Have you ever been to a birthday party that was so extravagant it actually made you jealous? Create a story or poem in which a character goes to a birthday party that is completely out of his/her  league. This especially includes the present that you got this person. Totally inadequate :).

Get penning your 400 words of prose/prosetry now!

The Linky will go up today at Romantic Friday Writers.

CHALLENGE NO 47 - Friday October 19

It's Halloween!

Another FW/RU Challenge

We’re looking for chilling stories of ghosts and haunted locations – and maybe even love from beyond the grave. 
A romantic element is essential, but we’re looking for stories with a thrilling edge of fear to add to the romantic tension building between our Hero/Heroine.

Have fun with this one! 
Don't forget the Romantic Element!

Let your head go! 
You can write up to 1,000 words of prose/prosetry!

The Linky will go up on October 12 at RomanticFridayWriters.


  1. Sounds like a wonderfully creative and fun group. I would love to find such a group.

    Excellent idea!

  2. Neat idea for a writing group. I love art galleries, used to hang around them more than now.

    I'd never seen that 'Eviction' painting before. Thanks for sharing the photos your writing group used.

    I can't join any blogfests right now, I'm in first draft stages of a mystery for a project in the spring. But good luck! I'll still drop by and comment during any blogfests.

  3. It sounds like a wonderful group. I wish I could find something near where I live to join. Hope you have a great birthday month.

    1. Thank you Suzanne. It has been wonderful so far!

  4. You have a unique writers group. I agree the right group can be powerfully motivating. I never would have came this far without my ftf group. And how awesome that you all are writing a group novel.

    See ya around RFW this weekend :)


    1. We're unique Alrighty! Have a great RFWER weekend. I'm on a flight stopover. Be home in coupla hours.

  5. I LOVE our writers group! I look forward to Wednesday every week! You guys have been great for pushing me with my writing, and now I write short stories thanks to you!

  6. Sounds like a great group. I've always liked the idea of what came come from a collaborative writing effort with the right mix of writers. Tried that once and boy was it a disaster. Haven't gone that way since.

    Thinking about the birthday madness in relation to a book that hasn't been touched in eons.

    1. Might be good to dust it off Joy! That's what I'm doing this challenge!

  7. What an awesome group! I can see why you guys continued.

  8. Love the idea of using paintings as writing prompts. You group sounds wonderful! The writers in my group all took the same course too. We didn't want it to end either...we've been meeting for over a year!

  9. What a great writers group! Workshops are the best for that, aren't they? You've inspired me to find just the right workshop so I can find just the right writers for a group. Thanks!

  10. Denise, I love your writing group! Wish we had one that was so alive and thriving here. I joined one for a while, but it was all stuffy college teachers. No fun at all.

    1. A stuffy group we aren't! But you can waste your time on the wrong group.

  11. Great advice. I love the hat pics!! Sounds like a solid group.

  12. That looks like such a fun group! I haven't had any luck finding a local group yet but I am gaining more exposure so it will come.

    1. I hope you find it Heather. I've been so inspired by this group.

  13. Your group sounds brilliant!! I wish I lived in Brisbane!!!

    1. So do I, Lynda. Would be awesome to have you in our group.

  14. What a fun, creative group, Denise. The painting idea is absolutely brilliant! Wow!

    Yep, header woes return. Guess I'm not wrapping my head around this Apple. :)

    On our trip's return, we spent a night at a B&B on Narraganset Bay in Rhode Island. Oh, but it was a magical evening watching the sun go down. The place had a widow's walk so we could sit out. I'd never stayed in a place with one before and fell in love with how one walks out and the ocean's like right there and the mind wanders to what's behind the horizon.

    Nantucket's gorgeous and one of THE most expensive places in the States. Architectural Digest magazine has lots of spreads about the uber rich and their summer houses there. Good stuff!

  15. Those are some great writing prompts! I have to write a poem today for a class, so I may use that idea!

  16. Sweet Lady, can you tell me again what the CSS code is to enlarge the header's photo? Many thanks!!!

  17. Hi, Denise,

    What a FUN and AWESOME group. I wish I had the opportunity to be involved with something like that here in Chicago.

    Alas, the few writer's here are either in the "burbs" and don't have the time OR the don't have the time because they have the "chicago" attitude. Thankfully I was fortunate enough to connect with Melissa Bradley, and we meet every few weeks for a marathon chat, usually six hours.... yes, six hours.

    We don't write, but we talk about our projects and get motivation from each other. Perhaps some day we will swap ms... time will tell.

    Anyway, glad you have such a fantabulous group ....

    Still haven't wrote my RFW story yet, but I will begin it now and finish sometime tomorrow.

  18. Hi Denise
    Wow! I'm just blown away. My own critique group didn't have much fun, just a lot of opinions that may or may not hold water. The most fun we had was going out to dinner in December one year. My idea. The worst thing was, once people were published they left, depriving the rest of us of their valuable experiences. Then new people who were babies once again. We finally just broke up after twenty years. When I got sick, my one last friend said she needed someone to help her and I wasn't it. Now, I'm looking online, as you know. I may just have to move to Australia just to meet with all of you, if you'd have me. LOL

  19. Your writing group sounds fabulous, and look at all those fun pictures!!


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