The Ubud Writers Group
The Ubud Writers Group was founded on the 16th September 2008 and has grown in strength ever since. We meet every second Thursday at Bayu’s Kitchen from 10am to noon, followed by lunch.
Yesterday we met. Six of us showed up on time and fifteen minutes later, Caroline arrived, making us seven. Caroline is a single parent of a toddler, so being on time is not the goal; just getting there is an achievement. We all understand this.
Our group has been operating for nearly 6 years now and for me it is a highlight of my fortnight. I know this is also true for the other members.
In the fledgling years, we were hobby writers, scared to share our writing, fearful of having our egos bruised. But our group was set up to encourage writing and writers and our members have never lost sight of that goal.
RULE – Keep gossiping until after the meeting when we have lunch.
Caroline really wasn’t too late at all, as we’d started the meeting with a catch up chat ( so that rule was ignored). Sherry had just started reading when Caroline made her entrance, apologies and seated herself. Sherry restarted reading us the latest chapter in her memoir. She’d distributed copies and we all followed.
RULE – Members need to bring copies of the piece they are sharing. A prose piece can be up to 4 pages long.
Sherry actually followed this rule. Her chapter was only 3 pages and she had a copy for everyone. The copies allow us to edit the writer’s story at home and have it ready to return to the writer at the next meeting. Everyone is expected to edit and we generally do.
RULE- Don’t critique members writing at the meeting. Write your editorial notes at home.
Perhaps this rule was important once, when our egos were more fragile, but we’ve all toughened up, improved our writing skills and gained in confidence. Sherry finished reading and we lauded here with praise and supportive comments. She enjoys constructive feedback, as we all do.
Then it was Julie’s turn to share. She had enough copies to go round and her piece was only a few pages long. She’d followed the rule. We enjoyed her story as well and had lots of comments for her to consider. We all promised to edit her work at home over the next 2 weeks and return them to her at our next meeting.
RULE – Never read from a computer. We need copies so that we can edit at home.
Caroline had no copies and read to us from her computer screen. Some members would have complained about this once, but not anymore. Our rules have become more flexible, more like time in Indonesia. Caroline also shared the timeline for the publication of our next group book, Celebrating Bali. Discussion followed and both Carol and Shane, who had decide against contributing, got inspired by the chat and may now get something written.
Mandy chose to read from her laptop as well. So much for the rule. We love Mandy’s poetry and enjoyed being able to sit back and just listen.
Moving onto Carol, she shared that she had not been writing. We forgave her, but tried to jolly her along to have something ready for the next meeting. She shared a couple of books that she had finished reading and found enjoyable. These were passed along for others to enjoy.
And then it was my turn. I had no writing ready to share, but told the group about the upcoming Patti Miller workshop that I will be attending in July.
RULE – Share information about workshops and how to get published.
My sharing actually conformed to this rule. Sherry and Caroline also shared information about agents and publishing.
And then we were ready for Shane to share. She had been busy and not writing, but our meeting and chats had inspired her and she thought that she might scrape up a story for the next meeting.
Our group is rule guided, not rule bound. We trust each other and are sensitive to the way we give feedback. Each one of us has evolved as a writer and the Ubud Writers’ Group can take some credit for this. We are a group that inspires writers and writing.
Writers’ Groups are worth seeking out. I doubt that any two operate in the same way, but they are made up of like-minded people who love to read and write.
If you would like more information about the Ubud Writers’ Group, please email Steve Castley on [email protected] phone me on 081 337 541 445, or drop in and see me at Bayu’s Kitchen, Penestanan, Ubud.
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Is your writing group still meeting?