Bru Coffee & Gelato
Writers Meet Up is a relaxed and informal meet up for writers living in and around Leicestershire. We’re a friendly group and welcome newbies.
The format: Buy a drink, choose a table, introduce yourself and see where the conversation leads…
Date for the next meet up:
Tuesday 4th December 2018
Cafe Bru – upstairs
10.30 am onwards
2019 – Organise your writing life: reflect on your year so far and set your writing goals to build your action plan for the coming year.
A really productive meeting with writers. We got to work with planning our ideas for next year’s workshop series and festival. It was lovely to see lots of new and old faces (I need to take pics!) and share our successes and progress. Well done to Ishi for securing her DYCP grant!
It seems that our Short Story September campaign won us some new fans (which is always nice to see) as well as shouting out to random cafe goers whether they are here for the meet up (poor Lucian). This was a meet up that started off rather chaotically and progressed in similar fashion. What I think I find most striking about these sessions is the wonderful mix of writers, working at different levels, in different forms, and genres. There is an incredible generosity and refreshing honesty to conversations (often intense). I’m not always convinced there is some goal that we are working towards, but the freedom to share new ideas, and progress, and to celebrate our achievements together, seem to be what binds this group.
The September meet up was jam packed with at least 21 people coming together to discuss their summer, (and blaming the heatwave for not getting much done!). It was lovely to hear more from new-ish members who spoke about their writing ambitions and finding their feet and some exciting developments for regular members, who are taking steps to find an agent, and secure publication.
Unsurprisingly this meet up was full of genius, and once again we threatened to take over the cafe. Lots and lots of new faces joined us post-festival. We set our writing goals, plotted our summer escapes and shared our writing journeys so far. There was lots of optimism in the air for future projects and new beginnings and where we might be when we reconvene sessions in September.
This was the first meet up as part of the festival and as ever with festival season, and the aftermath of the nerves and excitement it brings this particular meet up was a blur. There was lots of new faces and it was especially lovely to see Anne Jordan who hasn’t been to a meet up in a while. There were lots of writers ploughing through early drafts and it’s always exciting for me to meet people early on in their writing journeys. I daren’t tell them that some of the worries and anxieties (am I real writer?) never quite leave you. We had conversations around discipline, or lack thereof and celebrated the success of those who had made breakthroughs.
There was a lovely mix of the old and new at our May meet up. Sally, Steve and Simon (a trio of Ss) are all relatively new to writing but (as ever) I was impressed by what they’d achieved in their short time as writers. Yes, that old chestnut always crops up at a meet up: at what point can writers call themselves a writer? For me, if you write, you’re a writer and if you’re brave enough to attend a meet up then you’re definitely a writer! We had conversations about process (my fave topic) and shared details of future events and forthcoming deadlines. I left feeling like a writer!
Penny Jones hosted this meet up and reported back to say there were around 15 writers in attendance, with lots of new faces and the usual friendly chatter.
Our first meet up of the year was amazing. There were so many writers in the room that I think we actually did take over the upstairs a little. What is always lovely is to see people at the start of their writing journey, and those who are just dipping their toe in the water and having a go. We shared our experiences of the recent WEM conference, what we’ve been doing on our break and our goals for the year. All in all a great start to the year!
Our last meet up on the year was filled with setting goals for ourselves in 2018. A quieter (and chillier) meet up we reflected on the year, and announced details of the next short story prize. We will return in March 2018!
It never quite ceases to amaze me how many people take a leap of faith and start writing. But write we must. Having spent a week, with my head down attending the meet up this time around felt like a much welcome break and disruption to my routine. As soon as the winter months hit us, I find myself wanting to retreat! As always, Leicester’s literary scene seems to be expanding and forever evolving, with lots of exciting things to entice a writer away from their desk. We chatted in small groups, started making plans for 2018 with workshops and gave a shout out to the events in our diaries this month: Leicester Writers Showcase, Sledge Lit and Literary Leicester.
Yikes! This group seems to be getting bigger, with lots of newbies taking up writing in the new term. We had around 18 people (I lost count) for this session which started off with a bit of necessary chat. It was lovely to speak to Brim, who has been writing his first novel since retiring. Clare from Writing School East Midlands came along to properly introduce herself. We introduced ourselves in a big group (sorry if I didn’t speak to everyone) before a handful of us settled down for an impromptu workshop on sending your work out to publishers. My notebook is full, and so on to November, which as you all know is NaNoWriMo – anyone up for a challenge to write a novel in a month?
Well done to those who braved the rain to attend this meet up. It felt very much like a new beginning for meet ups, with plenty of new faces. It was good to catch up with those who attended the July meet up – Grace, Trevor, Anne, and Lola to see how well they did on committing to their writing goals. Gold stars all round! We chatted in small groups and then introduced ourselves and our work. Leicester’s lit scene is thriving and more importantly willing to step away from their computers/notebooks for a brief moment to connect with other writers. Long may it continue!
Our last meet up before the summer was filled with new faces. We talked in small groups, about all things from this year’s Leicester Writes Festival, audience building to what it takes to get published. Is it getting more difficult? We shared news of events and opportunities taking place (which seem to be growing) before setting our writing goals. All duly noted, ready for the new term in September.
A quieter time at this meet up meant we actually spent some time chatting as a group before getting on with some writing. Bath Spa’s 25 word Novel challenge threw up some interesting conversation on what a novel is, and whether it’s possible to write one in such few words. We read out our stories, and agreed it was really difficult to do. Good luck to anyone inspired to submit to the competition!
A mixture of madness and mayhem ensued at meet up this month. We were delighted to be joined by BBC Radio Leicester for the announcement of the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize and delighted to be joined by a whole army of new faces. We seem to be outgrowing the space! We chatted in groups about our own writing and goals for the coming year, before moving on to do introductions as a group. It was lovely to catch up with Divya and Mahsuda who haven’t attended a meet up for a while, as well as discuss what’s next for the short story prize.
What happens when a bunch of writers are invited to a “speed-dating” event? This month, I was keen for us all to move around, meet new people and really think about how we introduce ourselves so I suggested we sit and chat with the person opposite for three minutes and then switch places. The beauty of this exercise is that it forces you to think about what’s important (90 seconds is hardly much time at all) There was plenty of laughter and noise and as always it’s so heartwarming to be in the company of writers who know just how awkward it is to talk about yourself! Turkish delight also made an appearance to celebrate my recent comp win.
OMG! (I promise never to say that ever again on here) it’s clear to me that this group is becoming rather popular. It’s great to see so many people who are ‘dabbling’ in writing, and those who were very recently only newcomers are taking it more seriously by entering things like the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize (hint, hint – the deadline is April 3) It was great to see Nabila Jameel again, I met her at an event ten years ago. She’s a wonderful poet and its great to see her work develop and hear about the workshops she runs. It’s always inspiring to hear from people who have FINISHED something so Penny Jones’ news that she has just completed her first novel left us all in awe. But things aren’t always easy as a writer, so while we celebrate our success, we’re also there as a much-needed support when things aren’t going so well, to sound out ideas, or to just tell each to keep going. That’s one of the best things about this group. If you’re reading this and haven’t yet made time to join us, you’d be more than welcome!
I genuinely thought this was going to be one of our quieter events, but in the end there were 17 of us, which was a pleasant surprise. We were joined by lots of new faces this time including Kim and Laura, and it was good to see Richard and Leah again after a bit of a break. Leah talked about her experience of Write Now Live and meeting her hero, Malorie Blackman and just how nervous she was about being there. She’s now waiting to hear back about the mentoring on offer and hopes to use the opportunity to secure an agent. It’s wonderful to see local writers progressing on to publication after years of plugging away but I think these events also help us off-load and keep us motivated to keep writing. They certainly leave me feeling inspired to tackle that next set of revisions…
Our first meet up of the year was took place a week later than usual. We started as we meant to go on: firstly by celebrating publication success with both Penny Jones and Richard Cox who have been published in notable anthologies. We welcomed mostly familiar faces (Penny, Ishi, Hafsha, Katie, Macha, Paul, Grace, Alka, Richard, Marianne) and some newbies (Tabby and John) and began chatting in small groups. I enjoyed hearing about how each writer is developing their work, and the writing goals they are setting themselves for the year. It was an all-too familiar moment when some suggested that they were merely an imposter and were very grateful to be included in our discussion. Even after spending many years writing, it seems amusing to me, how people still feel like a fraud when they introduce themselves. It’s no secret that most of us ‘writers’ do too!
For more meeting notes and dates please see: