Guide to New members

 

Our main purpose

Most people who join Cambridge Writers do so because they write and they wish to improve their writing.

This might seem the only reason, but we recognize that there are some who join us simply to enjoy hearing the authors we have to speak at our general meetings.

Learning to write well is a long job and we would not wish to underplay the difficulties involved. Also writing is a solitary craft, but we know that sympathetic advice and encouragement from a group can help this learning process.

When do Groups meet?

We have separate Groups meeting monthly for Poetry, Short Pose, Long Prose and Travel Writing. Details of all Group meetings are announced in the Newsletter or can be found here.

What benefits do Groups offer?

  • You will probably find that attending a group regularly makes you write more frequently. However, it is good to develop the practice of attending on those months when you have nothing to offer.
  • Learning to pay close attention to the texts of other people helps us to understand better our own writing. Whether it is the strengths or the weaknesses we see in others’ writing, we learn what may be good in our own and what we ought to avoid.
  • Learning to comment constructively will make us more aware of faults in our own writing and teach us how we might fix the “broken” bits.
  • Reading our own work overcomes our natural reluctance to expose the precious children of our spirit to public scrutiny.
  • As we become more experienced in the ways of the Group, we will learn to either accept the comments offered (and amend our work later) or quietly reject them as inappropriate.
  • You will sometimes find it useful to ask for comments on a particular aspect of your writing.
  • In the Poetry and the Short Prose Group you are expected to take along copies of the text you wish to read. Usually 8 copies suffice.
  • It is the job of the Coordinator of the Group to ensure that comments are offered in a constructive spirit.
  • Groups will encourage you to submit your work for publication when it is ready.

General Meetings

These are held at Hartington Grove Friends’ Meeting House on the first Tuesday of each month (except January and August) at 7.30 pm.  The  program is listed on our website. You can follow us on Twitter to get reminders for the upcoming meetings.

Each year, we usually have six established authors as speakers and hold two workshops on aspects of writing.

We think it is a good thing to come to as many of these as possible – even if you have never heard of the author! It is surprising how much we can learn about the writer’s craft from hearing what they have to say.

We welcome your suggestions for speakers. Contact the programme secretary Beverley Steffert.

[We should point out that, for reasons of finance, we mostly invite speakers from the Eastern Region. We’re afraid that you will have to hear J.K. Rowling elsewhere.]

Newsletter

Every month you will receive a Newsletter which:

  • Tells you about forthcoming events organized by Cambridge Writers – and also other literary events in the area.
  • Gives details of national competitions, courses, events and publications which might help our writing. Occasionally there are articles on aspects of writing.
  • Gives reports on the readings that have taken place in our Groups.

N.B. It is a good idea to take a turn at writing the Newsletter report for the Group you attend. It will only fall to you to do this once a year!

You can receive your Newsletter through the post, but it greatly helps our   finances if you will receive it as a PDF file via the internet. These files are data only and cannot transmit viruses. If you are so willing, contact the newsletter editor Tim Love.

Website

Our website is also a good way to keep in touch with our events.You may care to have some material on our poetry and short prose anthologies. Copyright for this material remains with you, but it is only fair to warn you that some competitions will not accept entries of material that has previously been on websites and there have been a few cases of website piracy.

Annual Writing Competition

We hold an annual, members-only Writing Competition. Prizes are small; £25, £15 and £10 book-tokens, but we have a lot of fun. Please do your best to enter when details are announced in the Newsletter.

Fellowship

Now that’s a bit of an old fashioned word! Some writing groups used to call themselves “writing fellowships”. We are not going to change our name, but we don’t think that the ideal of “fellowship” is antiquated. We hope that through Cambridge Writers you will meet interesting people and make new friends.