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13/09/2019: The Writers of Essex Meetup

I’ve been holding regular events for the writers within Essex, UK. Initially they were created so I could meet other writers who shared my thoughts and goals. I felt that if I needed to meet others in real life, then there must be more people who feel the same out there.

The quarterly meetings were originally held inside a Chelmsford coffee shop; the venue ensured the meetings would be informal and friendly, a chat over coffee if you will. I chose that location as, despite it being an hour’s drive for me, I felt it would be central for those likely to attend.

However, after 3 years of running these meetings, my single voice reaching out to a handful of people who, for one reason or another, couldn’t make the date or the location, it was time to rethink the location and venue so after the June meeting in 2019 I spoke to Essex Libraries and Society of Authors, asking for their input to my meetups.

I was incredibly fortunate to have both those bodies come on board instantly. The library would provide a free space and display posters while the SoA would extend the invitation to their members - what was originally my voice calling out to a few people is now a larger voice calling out to potentially hundreds - they also provided a face book group so I can easily post notifications to those who follow it. The SoA also gave me discounts to distribute to those interested, magazines and bookmarks.

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a freebie?

The September meeting was held at Essex Libraries in Colchester Library and Community Hub with support by Society of Authors. 18 people attended and it was heartening to learn that half were members of the SoA and half were not. This is the kind of meeting I think is vital for communities.

I had the foresight to create feedback forms asking attendees to tell me what they’d like from an informal and friendly, supportive and encouraging meetup such as this. I was thrilled with the responses – all of them being useful and constructive. Gauging by this first meeting in Colchester, it appears to be a good step in the right direction.

During the summer, I sent out several invitations via the face book page, so if you haven’t yet responded, please rethink. This could be the ‘in real life’ group for you. Added to that, if you know a writer within Essex who might enjoy it, please tell them about the face book group page too.

The next meeting is December 7 12-3pm. However, I’ll be hosting a Tea & Talk event (Mental Health Foundation) on Tuesday 8 October 10am-12pm at Café 222, 14 Long Wyre Street, Colchester CO11LH. It's a relatively new cafe that is located quite close to Queen Street and, in turn, the car park in Priory Street. If you want to join in the discussions about mental health generally or yours while you write/the effects it has on you, please do.

It’d be good to see you there.

Finally, thank you to those who attended, Essex Libraries and Society of Authors for sharing my vision.

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