Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House on December 7th. This was to be an important session to discuss which direction the group should take in the new year, and there was a good attendance. At the same time it was the last meeting before Christmas, so wine and mince pies were laid on for us all.
Penny had circulated members to ask their views, and had collated the replies as well as laying plans herself. Everyone present gave their opinions and suggestions, and these are the decisions that were made.
• The concept of ‘creeping death’, where each member spoke briefly about their recent writing, had been felt by some to be a little intimidating. Those who had not been working on specific projects could feel awkward. It was agreed to drop the name, and instead start future meetings with ‘Introductions and News’, where people could say who they are and what type of writing interests them, adding detail only if they wish.
• Several members had been finding the current venue noisy at times, making it hard to concentrate or to hear others. Penny has therefore arranged for us to meet in future at The Dolphin Hotel in the High Street; she has found the manager keen to host us, and there is the restaurant area and quiet rooms available at no charge. This was felt by most to be an excellent choice. The venue could also be used to host book launches, rooms would usually be on the ground floor (otherwise there is a lift and disabled access), and refreshments are available. Writing Buddies will be sorry to leave the Art House, which has looked after us well for two years, but needs must. Writing Buddies thank the Art House staff for their hospitality over the years.
• At some meetings there will be a focus topic for discussion, but meetings will remain informal and monthly on the first Friday – except that there will be no January meeting.
• It had been mentioned that while we heartily welcome new members, they may sometimes raise topics that have been previously discussed at length. We thought there might be opportunities to provide links to internet resources, or a member could volunteer to meet with the newer Buddy after the meeting to answer any queries.
• The blog will eventually have extra pages to vary the content, for example single-topic information by an appropriate person – self-publishing was mentioned, and tips for writing for magazines. Any members who would like to offer a specific page should get in touch with Penny.
We’ll meet again on Friday February 1st at 2pm at The Dolphin Hotel, High Street, Southampton. Going through the Bargate, it’s about 300 metres south on the left. And finally, a successful and happy new year from Writing Buddies.
Blog notes by Jacqueline Pye