I mentioned in my last post that I’m interested in starting a writing group in my hometown and, while I have a few minutes on my lunch break, I wanted to put out a little more about what I’m looking for. Granted, these are just my own selfish wants and the foremost of those would be that the group build itself towards the greater needs of all rather than molding my own, but I hope that at least some of them would coincide.

–A venue. I would like to find a place to meet that could hold a fair number of people as needed (say 20-30), but that can be just as easily and effectively used for much smaller groups. I would say somewhere on Bethel University’s campus would be ideal, especially considering I’d like to approach their English department to see if any of their students or faculty would like to join/speak to the group. I would like to stay away from restaurants–the meeting places for so many civic and special interest groups–and other places where people would feel obligated to purchase something to be in attendance. I would like for people to focused on writing, not what they are going to order from the menu or when someone is coming along to fill up their coke. On a less important level, it would also be great to have access to such things as a digital projector for instructional things like powerpoint presentations and editing exercises that would benefit the group as a whole and could be doled out to anyone with a particular level or area of knowledge the rest of us might not have.

–A time. My schedule is, to say the least, hectic. It is also very erratic. Some days I work early in the day. Others I work until nearly midnight. I also work weekends and just about any other time I’m needed. That said, I could arrange, through the excessive power I have at my job, at least one regular night off per month. I think meeting more than that would put too much pressure on participants to produce work in a hurry and less often than that would reduce the benefit of support and solidarity I’m hoping to establish in the first place. I realize that people have other things going on and that no time will work for everybody who might be interested in joining, but if we can find a time that will suit the majority of people, that will have to be good enough.

–Writers. I would not want to put much of a restriction on who could join the group. I think anyone serious about writing and is old enough to understand the challenges of writing well and not feel awkward by the occasional bit of inappropriateness would be welcome. I also would not want the group to only be people interested in publishing. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who simply wants to write better–regardless of the end result of that writing–would be welcome as long as they are a.) willing to give and receive criticism in a courteous manner, b.) willing to take the group seriously and be supportive of its members, and c.) able to contribute to the meetings on both a creative and informational front.

That’s pretty much what I am hoping for. I’ve heard some interest from other members of the community around me and if any of them read this and have any ideas regarding the above topics, please email them to me at leesmiley@gmail.com. Once a group is established, we could look at things such as finding guest speakers, attending conventions, and other such writerly things.

Now, back to work.