Blog: Longford Writers Group

 

What inspired Longford Writers Group? 

Originally, after some people had attended a writing course they wanted to keep the writing going and felt meeting with like-minded people who would encourage each other would benefit their progress. They continued to meet once a week in Longford library. But over time people began to drift away and just a few were meeting up. It was decided to start meeting fortnightly instead and to put on a drive to get new members. It took a couple of years to build it up and discover the direction it was going in. We also made contact with other writers and writers groups in County Longford. A major turning point was preparing an event for the 1916 commemorations. We put together an evening of stories and poems about 1916 with entertainment. Other writers outside the group were invited to take part too. Some of these became members of our group afterwards. We put our own stories and poems into a number of loose-leaf binders for those that participated and for Longford library. After that we took part in many events like Authors and Artists nights, A Night for Syria, Culture Night, Poetry Day, and an event on Mother and Baby homes which was part of a launch for an exhibition of the paintings by Ambroise Donnelly, (whose mother had been born in a Mother and Baby home) in Longford library. 

Many of our events have been initiated by Longford library who have provided the meeting space for free and encourage us to read and have events there regularly. The staff are very supportive.

 Last year we received a grant from Creative Ireland to hold Masterclasses in different genres of writing. These were a big success. This year we also have about four projects on the go with further funding from Creative Ireland. 

This is our Mission Statement: 

The reasons we meet … 

The Longford Writers Group was set up by amateur writers seeking to improve their writing skills in a focused, stimulating and constructive environment. Meeting every fortnight, members share stories, develop ideas and discuss direction for their writing, with an overall ambition to publish their work. 

What happens at a typical session? 

We usually have a prompt for each meeting decided on from the last meeting, to get us writing, whether it be a poem, short story or other genre. But this is not compulsory. We take it in turns to read what we have written and may have some discussion about what we have heard. At some sessions we have a guest speaker to talk on a particular topic. This last year we had Rose Moran who is also a member of our group talking about poetry, Jimmy Keary (a local playwright) talking about playwriting and Niall Brewster (who works with local actors) talking about improvisation. We share information on writing competitions, festivals and courses coming up. We have an offshoot Critique Group who meet monthly to critique each other’s work. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing but is unsure where to start? 

Our advice would be to find out if there is a local writing group in your area already and go to a meeting and see what it is like or if they have a waiting list, like we do at the moment, sign up. If there isn’t one in your area talk to your local librarian and see if they would be supportive in setting one up either by providing the space or giving you a date for an information/casual meet up with the intention to create one. Also, check out the writer page in the Longford Leader and other local papers and magazines. We would also say don’t give up. If you feel you want to write, then do. Most writers think their own writing is not good. It is all a matter of confidence. Writer’s Groups are great for providing you with the confidence to share your writing with others. Reading your pieces and listening to others read can be of great benefit and it may evolve, as our group has, into events, classes and our soon to be collaborative novella.

For more info please see:


Blog by Eileen Moynihan
Photo by Sally Martin

 

Published for Books Ireland online July 17 2018


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