It’s over eighteen months since my writers’ group began and in that time we have seen a few developments. It’s interesting how group dynamics work and Tuckman’s model of group development – Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing seems to more or less fit our evolutionary process . Tuckman maintains that all these phases are necessary and inevitable for groups to grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems and find solutions, plan, work and deliver results. However, as with all groups, it seems that some people join to observe and others to take part. The ethos of the group was always about professionalism. I didn’t want to start yet another group of weekend writers or people who wanted to simply read out their work to have others admire it. My aim in starting the group was to attract dynamic people who wanted not only to write, be published and motivate others – it was also to take an active part in group activities. As it has turned out, there have been a few members who have been actively writing and participating in meetings, some who have contributed greatly to the growth of the group and, inevitably, those who just want to come along and participate at meetings, without necessarily contributing to the group’s evolution.
Since we started we have welcomed two guest speakers, a publisher and a creative writing teacher; developed a website; joined the National Association of Writers’ Groups; snuggled under the umbrella of the Bear Pit, a local arts group; changed our monthly meeting venue to an eminently more prestigious and comfortable place and have plans to participate in the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival in April. Our members have had articles published, won a short story competition and self-published a crime novel. Many others continue to write their novels and enter short story and poetry competitions.
The aim of the group was to encourage and motivate writers who wanted to be published and the frequent email ‘traffic’ between members testifies to the frequent dissemination of market information.
One regret I have in starting this group is that when I began all those months back, I wasn’t employed and therefore had much more time to devote to the organisation and running of the group. Now however, I am working virtually full time and it is often a struggle to achieve all that I want to in furthering its scope and profile.
Nevertheless, I do feel we are getting somewhere and though sometimes I think it would have been simpler to just develop my own writing and continue writing my historical novel in isolation, the friendship and camaraderie of the group has more than made up for the extra work, stress and frustration I have sometimes experienced. So… bring it on. Let’s see what we can achieve in the next eighteen months.