The group has a membership on paper of over 20, but not all turn up to every meeting every time – some have lives. Recently the meetings have been so crowded – 15 or 16 – that it’s been difficult to cram everything into our two-hour fortnightly spot. We generally have a short news & ‘business’ round-up, a short writer biography spot, a 10-minute writing exercise, a read-round of the work we’ve done at home (we call this ‘homework’) on a set theme, then a read-round of the writing exercise pieces. Sometimes we have workshops, some of which involve visiting writers through the Live Literature Scotland scheme run by the Scottish Book Trust. Sometimes we work on performances – we do sessions at a local watering hole – and sometimes we’ll work with visual artists and/or musicians at the embryonic Arts Hub. So we’re a busy lot, with a strong sense of being part of something that’s worth being a part of. We enjoy each other’s company, and we support each other very well. We’re intensely democratic, with a different chair for each meeting, and it’s always fun, never stale or predictable.
As one of the founders several years ago, I can testify to the rise in quality of members’ writing, and to their performance skills, over time. Several members are now published, successful in competitions, and/or regular performers. But the crowding and the time pressures suggest we’re victims of our own success. I don’t know what answers we’ll come up with, but I’m sure we will. Meanwhile the Writers’ Group is increasingly recognised as an integral feature of the cultural life of our community.