Last week I sat down at a comfortable dining room table to talk with five friends I had just met.
My five friends are writers.
How did they become writers? They started writing.
John Bingham, a contributor to Runners World magazine in the 1990 said this about running:
“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.”
The same goes for writing.
There is no certification. There is no test to take. You don’t have to answer questions from a panel of senior writers.
These five, Sandra Hale, Kathy Montan, Kathy O’Shaghnessy, John Ohst and Laurie Swinwood have a writers club.
They meet once twice a month and managed to make it through COVID with a combination of ZOOM and e-mails.
Now, they are back to meeting in person but the format has not changed.
They each take turns acting as a facilitator. The facilitator sends out a list of writing prompts before the meeting. The other members can use the prompts or not. The can bring in what they have been working on or something else.
It is all about sharing and being positive and being encouraging.
At the meeting they have a live writing exercise. The facilitator gives a prompt and the writers have set amount of time to write something. Once time is up, they each share what they have written and they laugh and laugh and laugh.
Everybody writes for a reason, but the main reason they write is that they are writers.
“Writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised every day: The more you write, the easier it becomes,” best selling author Jane Green said.
A column appears in today’s Plaindealer from John Ohst, one of the members of the writing club (they don’t have a name). It is a nice informative piece on why we have so many Hepburn libraries in St. Lawrence County.
The group will be writing under the name Life in the North Country. I am excited to see what the contribute.
In the next few weeks I am going to set up a poetry corner in the Plaindealer. I will be looking for local poets to provide short poems for publication. Please be on the lookout for that and get your quill pens ready.
Of course we are always open for letters, send them to email@example.com
Tom Graser is the editor of the St. Lawrence Plaindealer. He once said, “writing is like a rugby scrumdown, you throw an idea into a pile of other ideas and see what happens.”