Write MAGIC and the Online Writing Community

https://writemagic.org/fairy-bookmothers/

Brought together when the world was at its darkest, to give support to each other and other writers.

So, I normally post half yearly updates of all the writing-related activities/workshops/events I’ve been involved in, but obviously this past year and a half has been unlike anything we’ve faced before, and a number of things (as well as physical trips) fell by the wayside. Writers had to re-evaluate how to work, how to reach their audience, and how to connect. Being a writer can be quite isolating for many at the best of times, but take away in-person critique group meetings, socials, festivals, book launches, retreats, writing in libraries and coffee shops etc. and the world shrinks even further. Which is why becoming involved in Write MAGIC at the start of this year has been an absolute godsend.

I am so proud to be part of such a vibrant online community, where we welcome writers at any stage of their writing career, from beginners to award winners, and those writing for any genre and age group, with a focus on helping each other and getting words on the page. Every day we host online writing sprints on Zoom, where we set our goals for the hour, write for around 50 minutes, and then check back in and chat about how we’ve all done. I find that the friendships formed and things learnt on these sprints are as important as the accountability of actually getting my ‘bum in seat’ and doing the work. And it can lead to other things happening organically, such as ad hoc pitching workshops, synopsis and/or submission package swaps etc. Plus, we have a weekly planning Zoom for people to plan their week ahead. If you’re anything like me, seeing things written down always helps. (And I never really need an excuse for a lovely new notebook or planner!)

Community is a big thing for Write MAGIC. We are proud to have built a relaxed, friendly and supportive online environment for writers, where friendships are being formed daily. However, we wanted to extend a little magic into the world at large and so we asked our members to nominate a school and its nearest independent bookshop. Each month we spin the Wheel of Fortune and one lucky school receives £50 of books of their choice bought by us from their local indie bookshop.

It’s also important for us to support the debut novelists in our community, as making an impact in the week of publication can have a significant effect on a writer’s career. And, as we all know, it’s been doubly hard for debuts recently! So we are sending age appropriate debuts to the schools on the Wheel of Fortune and compiling a list of libraries who will receive debut picture books and novels written for adult readers.

Sound like something you would enjoy? Why not check us out – we’d love to welcome you!

2018 So Far…

So that’s us a quarter of the way through the year already and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I started the year holding my breath waiting to find out the results of The Bath Children’s Novel Award, having had my YA novel, Sixteen Again, longlisted in this at the tail end of last year. You can see the full longlist announcement here: – https://bathnovelaward.co.uk/2017/12/05/2017-longlist-announcement/

I was lucky enough to attract some interest from agents and publishers off the back of this and a subsequent #PitMad Twitter pitch, so I’m keeping my fingers firmly crossed.

In January our South East Scotland #SCBWI network hosted a fabulous ‘Time To Write’ workshop with Undiscovered Voices winner, Peta Freestone (@DrPetaFreestone) where we focussed on how to prioritise our writing, plus we have lots of other fantastic SCBWI events lined up for the rest of the year (including a re-scheduled Scrivener event to be led by Caroline Deacon @writingdilemmas, which was a casualty of The Beast From The East).

Then it was on to our February Chasing Time Writing Retreat, this time focusing on editing and making your words sing on the page. The retreat was full and we had a great bunch of people attend, which made it hugely enjoyable.

Our current retreat programme is available on our website, including specialised full day retreats for the first time. We are now also offering an extensive list of writers’ services, if this is something that may be of interest… https://chasingtimescotland.wordpress.com/writing-services/

This week I’m just back from the annual Scottish Association of Writers conference held at The Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld. This was my fourth year and I’ve been lucky enough to maintain my record of being placed in the competitions they run each year, as well as being a previous winner of the T.C. Farries award in the children’s novel category. This year’s highlights included being awarded a highly commended in the YA category by novelist Claire McFall @mcfall_claire, attending workshops run by her and the wonderful Lari Don @LariDonWriter, and my writing group, Angus Writers’ Circle (@AWCAngus ) sweeping the board in the poetry competition, which has never been achieved by any club before. We’re particularly proud of our own Chasing Timer, Sandra Ireland, who brought back the poetry trophy for the second consecutive year. We also enjoyed a keynote speech by the very funny Simon Brett.

After all that, I think I need a bit of a lie down. Or, even better, a way to stop getting distracted by social media so that I can crack on with my current WIP, another YA novel that weaves themes of bullying and broken homes with elements of Norse Mythology.

Happy writing everybody!