by Gabriel Ng
Welcome to the blog of the All-Melbourne, All-International Writer’s Club. Like it says in the blurb, we’re a group of writers based in Melbourne, Australia, who meet every couple of weeks to share our writing and get feedback on our work.
We’ve been meeting for a couple of years now. Credit for initial formation of the group should, I think, largely go to Adele. A few of us are refugees from another writing group (which will remain nameless for the reason of me being a coward) we found on Meetup. Unfortunately, the megalomaniacal tendencies of that group’s convener drove away many of the saner attendees, but Adele, like a master talent scout, kept in touch with people who showed commitment to writing, receptiveness to feedback and a veneer of sanity. Then I ran into her in the street and she made an exception. Since, we’ve been grateful to welcome new members, usually friends who pass the rigorous assessment process and endure the hazing rituals.
We’ve remained pretty consistent with meetings, when people aren’t visiting their respective countries of origin, searching for houses or having their hands crushed by labouring partners. We’ve read a lot of work, gotten to know each other and, I like to think, become mates (right? Guys? Guys?). Increasing proportions of meetings are taken up by catch-ups and bad in-jokes, which is nice.
I couldn’t overstate how helpful it’s been for me be part of a writing group, especially one as supportive as ours. Writing is generally one of those solitary endurance tests that are easy to give up as crazy, or hopeless, or both. Without feedback and encouragement, I’m not sure if I would have been able to finish the first draft of the novel I’ve been working on for around 18 months now. It’s definitely a skill to both provide and be receptive to feedback without crushing the fragile, butterfly-wing like confidence of emerging writers.
We decided on the name of our group late last year through the extremely democratic process of passing a laptop around at a restaurant to put asterisks on a spreadsheet.
We decided to start this blog to pool our resources and networks, and cheer each other on. It will be our place to talk about all things writing: the craft, the process, the highs, the lows, plus book reviews and the occasional snapshot into the inner workings of our group (more on that next week). We’re planning on posting new content at least once a week, and sometimes more. Hope you enjoy it!