Sunday, 1 July 2012

Being part of the community

Despite being administrator of the Phoenix Writers blog, I have to confess that I’ve never actually written a blog post. I’ve often thought about starting my own but what would I write about? What would I call it? But it’s my turn to write the monthly blog. Not easy when all the previous bloggers have been so very good.

Joining a writing group can be a big step. It may well be the first time you’ve opened up your work to public scrutiny. Criticism isn’t always easy to hear however sympathetically given, but if you let them, the group is there to lead you gently towards better things. Sharing your writing and talking to other like-minded people also encourages a more collaborative mind-set. This blog site is very much a joint effort with members taking turns to write a post each month.

The group also organises occasional workshop sessions which include exercises where we work in groups. And then there was our ‘carry-on story’, which we published back in May. See The Phobia.

Collaborative writing is nothing new. Shakespeare did it. Charles Dickens did it, for example, joining forces with Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell and Adelaide Anne Proctor to write A House to Let, which was published in the 1858 Christmas edition of Household Words. A century and a half later in 2007 Penguin Books and De Montfort University (coincidentally also based in Leicester) launched the wikinovel A Million Penguins with nearly 1500 individuals contributing to the writing and editing.

Here at Phoenix HQ we’re a group of writing friends who want to improve our craft. For us the communal experience is an important part of the process and technology now offers so much more opportunity to engage with others. You only have to look at any of the members’ blogs featured on the right. A case in point being Phoenix member Cathi Rae whose blog Rubies and Duels, not only includes all her ‘work in progress’ but also has a guest contributors spot.

Why sit at home all alone, struggling with the grand opus when there are groups like ours inviting you to participate.


Phoenix Writers