|Photo by punsayaporn courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
The first meeting of a group of Gibraltar Writers for a couple of years was almost the highlight of my writing month in April. Although there are many writers in Gibraltar and in the past couple of years there has been an increase in the numbers of books published by Gibraltarians or about Gibraltar, there has never been a supportive, cohesive group or community of writers that can work together to drive forward the development of Gibraltarian literature.
With a bit of work in the local press, the moral support of Gibraltar Cultural Services staff, and making use of an existing Facebook group and social media, I pushed it. Not sure why, because it will mean a good deal of commitment on my part and devoting time which I had been hoping to spend dawdling about reading the mammoth "to read" pile of books I've amassed over the years.
Gibraltar Writers Facebook group
I guess on reflection, it was always about the human need of finding safety in numbers. Writing can be a pretty lonesome enterprise and I have blogged before about the useful work of writing groups. For me it is all about finding support among others who love to write, about sharing skills and experiences, about helping others to tap into their creativity.
I'm also nurturing this idea that a strong creative writing group can also contribute to the local community as well as develop Gibraltar's own unique literature and the individual talents of all those closet writers on the Rock. Writing can be cathartic, it can be a way of tapping into emotions or parts of the psyche that needs healing. It can help a dying person come to terms with parting from their loved ones and vice versa, while also leaving a legacy of unique written memories behind them. It can help those who have become disengaged from society to find an outlet for their frustrations and learn new skills, communicate usefully and re-engage with society. It can bring a sense of value back to the lives of those who have felt discarded and cast aside by society.
|We split into pairs to get to know each other better and to work on a short writing project.|
So what happened at the first event of Writers Together? Well, we got to know each other a little, we planned ahead to what we could do in the future, and we got writing with a mini workshop. I was struck by the diversity of writing styles and ambitions in terms of what the writers want to achieve with their writing, from memoirs for their grandchildren to stories, travel articles and content for a professional website.
Next steps - another get together next month, with hopefully more writers coming together, and another mini-workshop. At the end of the day, you can't be a writer until you start writing, and you can't get better unless you practice, lots.
And as for the other highlight of the month - it's a freelance writing gig. A proper, writing commission that puts all those wishes into focus and gets me actually working and forced to type whether I am hit by inspiration or not. Can I call myself a professional writer yet? Perhaps I will when the articles are actually published - just watch this space!
|Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net|