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This is a What's My Scene? post from #WriteHere Surf Coast organiser Gail Chrisfield. #WriteHere events are also held regularly in Melbourne and Sydney. If you're somewhere else and would like to start a #WriteHere event of your own, get in touch - we'll help you find fellow writers and get the word out.
Twitter has a lot to answer for. So too a newspaper article about people converging on some funky Melbourne café the first Saturday of each month to write together fuelled by coffee and creative company.
Both introduced me to #WriteHere. Without them, I would still be toiling away at my lonely desk wondering who and where all the other Surf Coast writers were, and what they were up to. I knew they were out there somewhere. I just didn’t know how to meet them.
‘How cool,’ I thought reading about #WriteHere in the newspaper. It prompted a casual online search culminating in The Writers Bloc website and Twitter.
After toying with trekking up to Melbourne for the next meeting, I realised the best way to meet writers living in my ‘neck of the coast’ was to bring #WriteHere to my home town: Torquay-Jan Juc. And so #WriteHere in Surf Coast was born.
Our first meeting took place on Saturday 6 December 2014 at 11am to coincide with other #WriteHere groups in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. Two people turned up to share my embarrassment at finding the advertised venue closed, a symptom of my haste to get things moving.
We considered retiring to the pub but ended up in the only café in the street open before noon. We drank crap coffee and talked solidly for two hours before parting ways, not one word written between us.
A less than auspicious start but an important lesson: never leave things to the last minute.
With plenty of time to get my act in order, our next meeting in February proved far more successful. Held in the comfortable surrounds of the RACV Torquay Resort Lounge, it attracted four people to a much better venue.
The view over the golf course to the ocean inspired us all with a novel synopsis completed, work started on a short story and a memoir, and issues with a children’s story resolved, all in two hours.
This level of productivity has continued through subsequent meetings, which have also attracted more writers as word has spread, especially after an article in our local newspaper. Even members of other groups, such as Geelong Writers and Geelong Night Writers, have started to come along to write with us.
As we gear up for our fifth meeting this month, we boast a diverse core group of published and hoping-to-be published writers working across children’s, young adult, historical, romance, short story and memoir fields. This list is likely to expand further as our group grows.
Thanks to Twitter and that newspaper article, I now know quite a few fellow local writers and what they are up to. More importantly, their creative companionship during our monthly #WriteHere meetings sustains me as I toil away at my desk, which no longer feels so lonely.
If you live in or visit Surf Coast, why not come write with us? Check out our Facebook page or call 0409 624 577.
Gail Chrisfield is an award-winning annual report author, corporate writer and journalist who lives, works and plays on Victoria's south-west coast. She writes short stories to free her soul and reads them to feed it.
Sam van Zweden was Writers Bloc’s Online Editor from 2013 - 2015. A Melbourne-based writer and blogger, her work has appeared in The Big Issue, Voiceworks, Tincture Journal, Page seventeen, and others. She’s passionate about creative nonfiction and cross stitch. She tweets @samvanzweden.
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