Oh! I just realised I forgot to write about the Writing network time we did yesterday.
We were in the cavernous junior common room at John XXIII college, and had to kick people out who were watching The Chaser’s War on Everything (we did invite them to stay, but none of them did). It was a bit of a weird set up, but we tried to make it close enough that people would be able to hear, etc. The thing that was tricky was that we didn’t know how many people to expect – we could have had three or 30. I probably would have preferred to have all sat round a table, but since we didn’t know if there would be enough chairs we ended up just having us sitting on this weird little dais with a crescent of chairs in front (looked a bit like a morning chat show).
In all, we had 12 people turn up. Most other groups got an average of 20, so we didn’t do that badly, although I had expected more. Part of the problem was it wasn’t advertised well at the main meetings, and as it’s the first year we’ve run network time people didn’t really know what to expect. Anyway, Karen gave a great talk on why we write, deconstructing the romantic myth of the writer as some tragic, melodramatic type who is captivated by a muse, and basically saying that it’s important for us to use words – but to use them well, to use them truthfully.
I then talked about how to write, and people seemed to get a lot out of what I said. I quoted copiously from other, wiser heads than mine, but also gave little practical bits of advice that I have found helpful over the years, such as don’t have your writing space in your bedroom, read a lot, try and write something (no matter how brief or dodgy) every day, support other writers with encouragement and prayer, have people around you who support you, and recognise that it is a difficult but rewarding pursuit.
We wanted to have a writing and workshopping time, but the group didn’t really seem to be into it, and I think we were hampered by the weird room and the arctic air conditioning. Still, we chatted about blogging and other kinds of writing, then prayed and went off to dinner (and Karen drove back to Sydney).
I think it was worth doing, but if we do it again in the future we will know what things we need to be aware of beforehand.
One good thing that came out of it is that Karen had a great idea for a collaborative Christian writers’ website where we can post articles, links, useful information and also blog about writing. I am quite excited by the prospect of collaborating with Karen and Guan. Let’s hope we get the momentum to get it going! (does that make sense? guh. you know what I mean)