The Writing Club is a nurturing and joyful online home for committed writers working on a longer project, giving you steadfast support from the seed of an idea right through to publication.
Do you dream of making better progress but:
Fear your writing isn’t good enough?
Struggle with a lack of time or energy?
Are confused about publishing options?
Keep getting stuck and worry that you'll never finish?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these, you’re not on your own. But you also need to not be alone – being part of the right writing group can make all the difference. I created the club in 2014 to include the aspects of support that would have boosted my own path to success:
About the writing club
Safe, supportive environment built on trust and sharing
Small, exclusive group with a maximum of 15 people at any one time
Fun and friendly ethos to make it easier to put the work in to reach your goals
Feedback you can trust and at a level that’s spot on for you
I’m a novelist and award-winning short story writer and poet, who’s also written in many other genres: creative non-fiction, stage plays, picture books, essays, travel guides, songs – you name it. I’ve also written hundreds of feature articles for national newspapers. For more than 20 years I’ve earned my living as a professional writer and editor.
Yet for a long time, although I was working in the national media, I knew few other writers. As a result, I shelved my deepest dreams to be a novelist and poet. There was no one to chivvy me along, to give feedback or pick me up when I fell over. When finally I did find a group, I took a tentative novel chapter along but my writing was ruthlessly dissected and it took both the project and me a long time to recover.
It’s my mission to use what I’ve learnt by doing things the hard way to help you shortcut your path to success. I’ve created the writing club as a safe, supportive space where you get the time and attention you need. But don’t confuse that with mollycoddling: you’ll get a mixture of carrot and stick – just the right amount at just the right level for you.
P.S. I love running the club. I love everyone who’s in it for the courage they have to improve their writing, to share their vulnerabilities and to never give up. When I’m in the club, as well as leading it, the other writers tend to treat me as one of the gang.
P.P.S. And by the way, my approach is to also to put as much fun and joy into the ride as possible. Think you can handle that?
This club is amazing! I say it again and again. Great bunch of fellow writers. Sheelah Turner, member and now author of For The Love of Africa: an overland adventure
Without you and the fabulous writing club, you wouldn’t be holding this book in your hands right now. There are no words to express my gratitude.Katherine Longhi, founder member and now published author of Hever Castle and Anne Boleyn
I just want to say a huge thank you for all support, encouragement, wisdom and the vast amount of good stuff you put out. I’ve got miles further forward with my humorous radio drama than I would have done otherwise.Sally Hepplewhite: founder member, radio scriptwriter and now published author
I’ve found working alone when stuck to be counter-productive, but sharing in this closed community to help … a lot!Andrew Minhinnick: founder member, novelist, short story writer, poet and now published author
The club is a great group and the community has been fantastic for me, really stretching and inspiring and helping me to start re-using my writing muscles and creativity. Selina Boshorin: blogger and ebook writer
I received much encouragement and an enormous amount of very constructive feedback. The club propelled me forward at a much greater pace than I could have achieved on my own. Fay Arrundale: joined as a new writer and now author of 7 Steps to Teaching Your Child To Save
- work alongside a professional writer who treats you as a pro *
- get honest, constructive feedback on your writing
- be given tools with which to measure your progress month on month
- receive exercises to improve your craft
- get 1-2-1 research help from me (sometimes I can fulfil personalised requests)
- get news, competitions and publications info I don’t share anywhere else
- benefit from weekly and monthly accountability and goal setting
- participate in a monthly tele-seminar to check your progress, solve any problems, and learn about an aspect of writing
- go from sharing your work with others perhaps for the first time, to getting regularly published and even paid
- access additional writers’ resources in a password-protected area on my website
- receive help with getting published
- get solutions to writing issues, whether practical or emotional
- improve your self-editing skills through giving feedback on others’ writing
- enjoy your writing more day in, day out
- form friendships with like-minded writers
- get a substantial discount on 1-2-1 Skype sessions with me: you pay just £50/hour instead of £85/hour
- chance to attend exclusive events, such as writers’ walks and retreats (there may be additional costs for events)
Did you know? Four of the writers who joined my fledgling club in the summer of 2014 continued to get so much out of it that they remained in it for 2 years, and two are still going strong.
*The club is suitable for all levels, including professional writers.
Be published in the special writing club anthology: in 2016/17 we’re producing a professionally designed ebook anthology of ‘the best of the writing club’. Each member can submit up to 7,000 words of their own writing to showcase their work to readers, publishers and agents, plus a photo, biography and web links. Participants learn essential skills required for any publication, such as rewriting and editing, selecting and ordering material. There’s a space for you in the next one!
Free Skype tutorial: you’ll receive a complimentary 60-minute Skype tutorial with me for each 12 months you remain a member without taking a break. This is your chance to check your progress with me on a 1-2-1 basis, discuss any issues you’re grappling with and ask questions. (NB I don’t feed back on particular pieces of writing in this session.)
Summer picnic: each year we hold a celebratory writers’ picnic in London’s Regent’s Park or other face-to-face event, so you can meet the other wordsmiths you’ve got to know. We raise a glass of bubbly to successes during the year.
Retreat: I’m in the early stages of planning a retreat, available only to writing club members, which will offer a mix of creative exercises, unstructured writing time and a 1-2-1 tutorial with me, along with the usual club mix of fun and sharing. We’ll also get out into nature and make the most of our environment. (The retreat will incur an additional cost.)
How the club works
Monthly tele-seminar: the heart of the club is a monthly 1.5-hour tele-seminar at 7.30pm (or 8.00pm) on the last Thursday of each month. This is where:
- you track your achievements and successes for the past month
- the group helps you solve any writing-related problems that have arisen
- you set a key goal for the coming month
We often focus on a key writing topic, such as getting published, openings, characterisation or a genre like flash fiction. I sometimes set a creative exercise to help you generate new writing, which you begin on the call and can continue at home if you want to.
Day-to-day: the day-to-day interaction in the club takes place in a secret Facebook group, where everything you post is strictly confidential (non-members cannot access it or see who is in it). Each Monday you post a short check-in about what you did the previous week and what’s coming up for you this week, and I offer feedback on your progress.
Feedback: you are welcome to post up pieces of your writing for feedback at any time. We use a file-sharing system called Box that’s similar to DropBox.
NB You don’t need any special technical skills to be in the club.
Who is it for?
It’s right for you if:
- You ‘re ready to make a commitment to your writing because you understand that it takes time and consistent effort to improve your craft
- You’re willing to share honestly and generously in a friendly, supportive, open-hearted forum
- You write in one or in a mix of genres – members include novelists, poets, scriptwriters, short story writers, memoirists, non-fiction writers, travel writers, and children’s picture book writers (diversity is a key strength of the group): both new and experienced writers are welcome
- You take yourself lightly at the same time as being serious about your craft – you have a sense of humour and are likely to enjoy the fun, impassioned, caring way in which I work