Writing in a group; the benefits of a procrastination

June 18, 2014

At the start of the year the Word Watchers crew embarked upon a retreat to the somewhat fabulously eclectic Symondsbury Manor.

Whilst there we concluded that a gathering of writers could only be termed ‘a procrastination’ of writers. Maybe this was our attempt at convincing ourselves the fun we were having was more purposeful than playing table tennis and drinking champagne to celebrate Abbie’s recent success might have felt.

As the newest member of Word Watchers I wanted to give a newbies’ insight into the benefits of writing in ‘a procrastination’.

Before joining Word Watchers I spent long and lonely days writing the first draft of my novel ‘Crossed Lines’. In many ways this was how I fell in love (again) with the beauty of writing; the simplicity and sense of completeness you can feel with just yourself and your words for company; the ability to listen to the voices of your characters, to develop them and to create a tangible work.

Once you have that first draft though it can be a long and difficult slog to make something commercial from it. Adulterating it so that it complies with the ‘unwritten rules of publication’ such as genre guidelines and sentence structure can become a chore.

This is where a procrastination of writers comes into its own. Yes, sure we procrastinated a little…there was the odd walk, a trip to the beach, and we explored the spectacular country house steeped in history, but most of all there was writing.

For four days the manor house became a haven of creative productivity. A creative atmosphere fostered by the house’s dynamic interior design as described by Word Watcher John Hoggard in his blog ‘A procrastination of writers’.

Writing collaboratively is something that many writers find benefits in. This is why writing groups exist. But sitting in a room with 5, 6, 7, or more other authors, each lost in their own world of creativity, is priceless.

The subconscious pressure that comes from knowing that everyone else is writing, teamed with the fact that usual daily distractions such as the housework or phone calls are not haunting you, means that writing collaboratively can be extremely productive.

Taking a tea break isn’t just an opportunity to refresh your mind (and your eyes for those of us who write direct to a screen), but also to discuss plot ideas and character development thoughts. Concerns or problematic plot issues can be resolved quicker when you have someone with similar interests to share them with. Then, when you finish your break and take your seat it’s so much easier to dive straight in and face any elements of writing that you may have been putting off.

So, having returned from the creative haven that we found over the winter has the procrastination resolved my procrastination? Possibly not. ‘Crossed Lines’ is still a work in waiting but it now has a clearer direction. It’s just currently sitting in the pit-lane awaiting a tyre change whilst faster, more fuel-efficient cars sail by on the road that is life.

By Danielle Auld

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