Where are the winners, Matt?

You may well be asking, “where are the winners, Matt?” and with good reason. This is not the post you are looking for.

Back towards the start of this week, I promised to announce the winners for the last week of the writing competition. I have been reading your posts but as for trying o work out winners, well, I might have been more than usually distracted.

Sort of a lot going on

For starters, I have been thinking about non-linear storytelling. When I say “thinking about” I mean seriously working stuff out and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. In essence, I am writing a computer game that requires you to have free-form conversations with characters. That’s a lot of specialist AI. I should really give that a rest for a few days.

Also, a certain person lent me Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb. If you thought Netflix ate up a lot of my time, that is nothing compared to what a good book can do. Blame Simon, for that one.

Also, and this is quite important, the Trustees of our charity voted last month to hold a summer BBQ and social for all writers, poets, readers, and arty types and people who like to hang out with writers, poets, and… You get the picture.

We’ve been working hard to make sure this is a great event. It turns out that it takes a lot more work than slapping up an event and hoping for the best. I’m quite excited about the BBQ now.

The BBQ is taking place on the 22nd of July and you are all invited.

At the same time, I have also been working on Author Buzz and getting things ready to start promoting it hard. If you have any of the following you should sign up (it is free and easy to do) and use your profile (and/or the directory) to let the world know about your thing:

  • A blog or website in any way related to writing (for example, your own).
  • A book coming out (or already out).
  • A club or group for readers or writers.
  • A regular literary event.
  • A bookshop. Bookshops are great.
  • An agency for writers.
  • Anything else writers or readers might find interesting.

A new plan

So my new plan is to use the time slot normally reserved for announcing the next contest (there are no more to announce) to announce the last winners that I pick. This gives you one more week to post your links to Reddit and vote for your favourite entry. Some of you should have 12 links to share.

I hope the small pause is not too disappointing and I promise the wait will be worth it.

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Thanet Writers’ Groups (Updated)

pens in a row

Last year we posted a list of writer groups that take place in Thanet. Thanks to the wonderful feedback from readers, we expand on that list. This is an updated listing of all Thanet Writers’ Groups.

We have tried to list all Thanet writers’ groups and poetry groups. I am still convinced that there are plenty more out there to find out about but I hope that this is enough to help you to find a writers group in Thanet (or close to Thanet) that will provide the support that you are looking for.

Thanet Writers’ and Poets’ Groups

Ageless Thanet has free activities for people aged 50 or over who live in Thanet. These groups include Creative Writing, Life Writing, and a Film Project. For more information about any of the activities please call 01843 601550

Arts in Ramsgate run writing classes priced at £7.50. Facilitators for this are Karen Bellamy and author Katerina Dimond. They meet in Harbour Street Ramsgate. You should book in advance. More details about the event.

Broadstairs Writers’ Circle meet on the first and third Monday of the month (except August) at the Brown Jug Inn; 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Rumour has it that this is the longest running Thanet writers’ group.

Chapel Open Mic Night welcomes spoken word poetry and readings and runs at the Chapel pub Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8pm.

Dead Island Poets meet in pubs around Thanet mostly in the Ravensgate Arms for open mic poetry nights and are run by Penny. Dead Island Poets don’t have a site or a Facebook page but Thanet Creative Writers members often post events like these to the Thanet Creative Poets Facebook group.

Hilderstone Writers’ Circle is, as far as we can tell, run by Maggie Solley at Hilderstone Adult Education College, Margate. I don’t have any further details but the contact number is 01843 860860.

Isle Writers gather 2.00pm – 4.00pm on the third Wednesday of each month (except December) at Broadstairs Library.

Inspirations hold their meetings between 11am and 1pm at Westgate Library on the fourth Saturday of each month (except December). We can’t tell you much else about this Thanet writers’ group so if you are involved or go along please tell us more.

TCW: Poetry is an as yet unnamed poetry group that Thanet Creative Writers host. The focus is on helping new poets find their voice but all poets are invited to come along and read their poetry. People who simply love hearing poetry are also welcome. Events are always posted to the Thanet Creative Poets Facebook group.

Thanet Blogging Writers are a loose association of writers from Thanet that blog. A lot of them take part in our writing competitions. Check the directory listing for more on these great bloggers.

Thanet Creative Writers hold a number of events throughout the year. Matt hosts a weekly writers’ gathering at his home each Tuesday at 7:30pm (address at the bottom of most pages on this site) called Writers’ Tea and Chat. This Thanet writers’ group has no fixed agenda and is there for whatever writers feel they need to talk about. This tends to be review and feedback. Sometimes the cat joins us.

Thanet Script Writers are a group that meet in The Ravensgate Arms in Kings Street Ramsgate. Their focus is “writing box sets”. We understand that Thanet Script Writers don’t meet every week but we hear that they meet on a Tuesday about once a fortnight. If someone can update us with more accurate information that would be fantastic.

Thanet Write On is a Thanet writers’ group that has a few mentions about the web. Run by one Philip Cowlin by all accounts. Philip can be reached on 01843 293167 according to my sources.

Thanet Writers’ Group is a writer’s group founded around the same time we were (2013) that seems to be quite interested in sharing writing competitions. We don’t know much else about the Thanet Writers’ group. May or may not be connected to other groups of almost exactly the same name.

Thanet Writers (a group forked from, but not affiliated with, Thanet Creative Writers) They used to meet every Thursday at about 8pm at the Chapel (while open mic night is happening) to critique work and discuss the running of their website. We did hear a rumour that they had relocated to the Ravensgate Arms but cannot confirm this. Not to be confused with Thanet Writers’ Group. Why all the hate? I don’t need this stress.

Thanet Writers & Artists is a website project that I understand is being set up to promote writing and creativity with daily interviews, videos, and advice columns. According to an email I received, Thanet Writers & Artists are in the last stages of planning and launching. There is an associated group of creative types that meets for critiques and all that but the email did not say where or when they meet. I’ll update you when they update me.

Thanet Writes Right are another group that we have only recently heard about. The word is that Thanet Writes Right are a Thanet based writers’ group that meet in Margate Old Town somewhere. If you know more then please get in touch.

Third Thursday Writers’ is run by Peggy Rogers and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. There is a waiting list to join this Thanet writers’ group so you’ll need to make contact in advance.

Westbay Writers gather for writing exercises and support at Westbay Cafe Tuesday mornings 10am to 11.30am. Westbay Writers is hosted by Susan Emm who you can contact by email on westbaywriters@gmail.com

Writers of Thanet are an online link sharing group hosted by Reddit.

Writing Matters run paid causes in creative writing around Thanet. Prices seem to be about £80 for 8 weeks. Check the link for more information.

Writers’ Circle is run by Maria Brown and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. You should probably use the contact form to find out more information about this writers’ group.

Writers Unleashed meet in the Ravensgate Arms, King Street, Ramsgate at 8pm on the second Monday of the month. The group is aimed at writers of Poetry, Prose, Flash Fiction, and Song to read or perform or listen to others.

I’ve tried my best to get as much useful information here so you can find a writers group that suits you. Things change and the details were as reasonably accurate as the sources I was able to look them up on when I wrote this list. Huge thanks to the numerous local Groups and Forums that have helped compile this list with wonderful feedback.

Start your own Thanet writers’ group

Maybe there is nothing quite like what you need here? Perhaps you are looking for a group focused only on horror, hard Sci-Fi, romance. If that longing leads you to you starting your own group please do let us know and we will add you to our listing.

Too hard?

Members of Thanet Creative Writers’ charity are able to access free support setting up groups and events as well as being able to count on us to provide free promotion for the group or event. Join today.

Updates to this Thanet Writers’ groups post

  1. I could really live without the passive aggressive attacks. I am trying to provide as much information as I have regardless of any personal relationships. If posting nothing about one small group will stop the hate, that is what I will have to do.
  2. Added Westbay Writers. Keep them coming you wonderful people.
  3. Corrected the Dead Island Poets entry. I first met them in the Chapel and thought they used more than one venue. My bad.

Over to you

  • Have I missed any writers’ groups out? Then tell us in the comments.
  • Do you go to a writers’ group? What’s it like?
  • Anything else? You know where the comments are.

Where is poetry going in Thanet?

Does poetry in Thanet exist in a bubble or is it more outward looking? Is it something solid that is growing or something that is over-inflated and will soon go pop?

I think most of us would probably answer that poetry in Thanet is substantive, outward looking, and has a bright future. I know that I would.

What is that bright future? Do we know? Can we know? Even if we can’t know, can we help decide what that future is?

Thanet Creative Writers is holding a Council of Poets to combine the sharing of verse with discussion about where we want to see poetry in Thanet going next. This gathering, I hope, will be the first step towards establishing what form the proposed new Poetry Circle will take.

The council of Poets will take place at our usual venue (address at the bottom of most pages) at half past seven on the 30th March. Places are limited and they are going pretty quickly. So make sure you reserve a space by asking me in person or just set yourself as “going” on the Facebook event.

We will consider the following questions (in between sharing our own poetry).

  • What do we poets in Thanet need?
  • Does poetry in Thanet have a future?
  • What is the future of Thanet’s poetry?
  • How can TCW help enhance the local poetry scene?
  • Do you want to make this a regular event?

Mostly, I imagine, we will be sharing rhymes and drinking tea.

Where do you see Thanet’s poetry going in the near and not so near future?

Why TCW are becoming a charity

red and black pens

In February 2017 Thanet Creative Writers will be transitioning to a charity. For most people, this change means business as usual but there are some features of us being a charity that might make a big difference.

In this (rather long) article I will try to break down exactly what it means to be a charity, what you can get out of us being a charity and how to get the most out of this change.

Charities are important

Charities are an important part of our country. They exist for the public good. In fact, it is impossible to be a charity if you cannot prove that you exist for the public good.

What is a charity?

A charity is an organisation that operates for the benefit of others. Specifically, a charity must be:

  1. Not be for profit
  2. Have exclusively charitable purposes
  3. Operate for the public benefit

Thanet Creative Writers (TCW) runs for the benefit of writers in Thanet and not, in any way, to make a profit. Our hope is to make Thanet (and by extension, the world) a better place by encouraging people to embrace this satisfying and worthwhile pastime. If some of our writers can go on to make a living from their work then this is even better.

Integrity and Credibility

It is generally seen as easier to raise funds from the public at large for a charity rather than a small independent group. This due to the positive image of integrity and credibility charitable status presents.

Help and guidance is available to charities from the Charity Commission. This, in itself, should provide the public with reassurance and help to show that we are sincere in our desire to further the interest of Thanet’s writers.

Furthermore, the model of charity that we have chosen, with elected trustees and open accounting, should help to foster transparency and show that we are an honest and reputable collective.

If course, just being a charity does not automatically mean any of that yet it is the right foundation to build an honest and open community for the betterment of writers in Thanet.

Governing Document

Charities are defined by their Governing Document. This is a technical and legal statement that says what the charity is, what it will do, and the bylaws under which it will operate. The website charityexpert.net has a more detailed explanation.

The Governing Document provides a clear set of rules that describes how the organisation will behave. Thanet Creative Writers has, so far, run on the rules of discussion and common sense. That is fine for a small group but as we grow so our structure needs to grow with us.

The attempt by a few members to take over and control the group, last year, demonstrates that without some set of guidelines eventually there will be chaos and anarchy. While a bit of personal chaos can be good for the creative mind, generally it is preferable to have a degree of order within a community organisation. If for no other reason than so that we all know where we stand with each other.

Our Governing Document is a fairly standard one. It describes what we want to do and how we will go about doing it. It describes how we will elect our trustees and what we will do if there is a disagreement. I see this as an important safety net to have in place before we try and start any further ambitious projects.

I see it as a personal failure that I saw the danger and did not push soon enough or hard enough for us to establish ourselves in a more formal setting. Our Governing Document has been crafted to rectify this shortcoming while being as light, informal, and flexible as possible.

The final draft of our proposed Governing Document is available in our Facebook group as a file. Click here to see it.

Funding Benefits

Currently, any expenses that Thanet Creative Writers’ projects might incur have to be paid for by whoever is running things. That hardly seems fair nor is it particularly scalable.

Certain sources of funding, particularly grants, are open only to organisations with charitable status.This includes “Gift Aid relief” on donations from individuals. This is of direct benefit to the writers and events that we support as we will be able to access or provide funding to help get things paid for.

Additionally, we may be exempt from VAT in some cases. This should make some things less expensive by a significant amount. That’s good because it means that we can do more for you with less money.

Read more on the benefits of becoming a charity.

Being a Charity Member

Charity members get to vote in our elections and may stand for trustee rolls. Members also get the most benefit from our charitable activities in terms of support.

You do not need to be a member to come to our events. That said, we feel it would be a great idea to think about being a member.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Priority registration to events with limited places
  • The right to vote in our elections
  • Access to all our events even those not open to the public
  • The right to have any relevant event you might run listed as an official TCW event
  • Access to any local discounts that we might negotiate

On that last point, discounts, this is an aspiration for us at present but should we realise this goal it would be for members only.

To become a member you need only make a donation of at least one whole pound each year. As members have a lot of power over the charity, full membership (where all the benefits are) has a short vetting process. You need to either be at the signing of the Governing Document on the 2nd of February, added by a trustee later, or sponsored by an existing member. While we are small and it is possible to know all members by name, that vetting process is likely to take a few seconds at most.

The benefits and requirements of membership are explained on the Thanet Creative writers: charity project page.

Being a Trustee

A charity cannot run without trustees. The trustees are elected each AGM and serve to carry out the business end of the charities aims and objectives. To become a trustee you must first become a member.

Being a trustee can be a hugely rewarding experience, especially when you see the difference that the charity is making. Also, and this never hurts, having spent time as a trustee looks great on your CV especially if you were able to help achieve something notable during your time as a trustee.

It should go without saying, but a trustee cannot be paid for the role. That may be a touch simplistic as there are conditions under which trustees can be paid for professional services but the charities commission will require a full and detailed explanation and justification. Sufficed to say, trusteeship is voluntary.

Read more (from the BBC) about the value of becoming a trustee.

Projects we already run

We already run a number of small projects. The most prominent are:

There are a lot more Thanet Creative Writers projects if you would like to read about them.

What being a charity means to our current projects

If you enjoy coming to Thanet Creative Writers: Tea and Chat or other events that we run then I have some good news. The change to charity means no change at all for you in terms of the events themselves. Tea and chat will continue as it always has.

However, it does mean that there may be money available in the future to run bigger and better events. It also means that if there is a problem there will be appointed and recognised people operating inside a fair and impartial framework that you can go to who will take care of the problem and help you get back to doing what you love – writing.

It also means that if you want to create something new then there is a framework within which we will be happy to help you make that something. It should be safe to invest time or money into a project know that there are safeguards in place which will keep things on track.

Finally, it also means that no new project should overwhelm existing ones. Should TCW launch a website, conference, or even a festival, then your current meetings and groups will not be overrun with talk of projects that you might not be interested in right now.

In short, becoming a charity means doing things the right way from the start.

Projects and event we would like to set up

Our members have a lot of idea of things that they would like for us to be doing. We have spoken over the years of setting up a literary festival, of running writers’ social events, of setting up a weekly poetry event for new poets, and of running training and presentation evenings. In addition to that, we would like to produce an anthology publication to showcase the best work of those that come to our events.

If we cannot do all that we would, at least, like to inspire others to do some of these things.

While we are doing that we would also love to support the many different writer oriented events and groups that exist in Thanet. We would like to help others who have innovative ideas for new events and groups to realise those ideas.

Becoming a charity, with the funding that this would allow us to access and the yearly donations of our members should allow us to make some of these dreams a reality.

Booking Specialist Speakers

How awesome would it be if we could get top writers like Niel Gaiman, J. K. Rowling, or Steven King to come and speak to us budding writers for an hour or two?

Who do you think they would be more willing to come and talk to – some local writers’ group or a legitimate charity with the funds to cover their expenses?

Becoming more

When I founded Thanet Creative Writers my only thought was that it would be cool to hang out with other writers. Things have grown since then and this change to a charity is in many ways simply a natural part of that growth. Thanet Creative Writers long ago stopped being about me and became about us instead. We are writers and we want to help other writers.

Things like dyslexia, dyspraxia, youth, age, career (or lack thereof) should not be things that stand between you and enjoying writing. If we can help remove those barriers, then this is a good thing that we want to do.

If you would like to be part of establishing Thanet Creative Writers as a charity then please come along to our launch.

Thanet Creative Writers’ Charity Launch event

Thanet’s Writers’ Groups: Early 2017 Summary

pens in a row

Last year we posted a list of writer groups that take place in Thanet. Thanks to the wonderful feedback from readers we have been able to expand on that list.

Like our 2016 list, this is every writers’ group we could find. Some cost money but most are free, some are selective about who can come, some are open to the public, and some only meet sometimes. No matter what your level of writing or the distance you can travel there is bound to be a group that is a good fit for your needs.

Thanet’s Writers’ and Poets’ Groups

Ageless Thanet has activities free for people 50+ who live in CT9, CT11, and CT12. They include Creative Writing, Life Writing, and a Film Project. For more information about any of the activities please call 01843 601550

Arts in Ramsgate run writing classes priced at £7.50. Facilitators for this are Karen Bellamy and author Katerina Dimond. They meet in Harbour Street Ramsgate. You should book in advance. More details about the event. (A big thanks to Thanet Poetry Posse for some solid fact-finding there).

Broadstairs Writers’ Circle meet on the first and third Monday of the month (except August) at the Brown Jug Inn; 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Dead Island Poets. We know they meet in pubs around Thanet for open mic poetry nights and are run by a lady called Penny. As I still couldn’t find a page to link to your best bet is to follow the Thanet Creative Writers group were Dead Island Poets events tend to get shared. Next meeting is at the end of the month.

Hilderstone Writers’ Circle is, as far as we can tell, run by Maggie Solley at Hilderstone Adult Education College, Margate. I don’t have any further details but the contact number is 01843 860860.

Isle Writers gather 2.00pm – 4.00pm on the third Wednesday of each month (except December) at Broadstairs Library.

Inspirations hold their meetings between 11am and 1pm at Westgate Library on the fourth Saturday of each month (except December).

TCW: Poetry is an as yet unnamed poetry group that Thanet Creative Writers are looking to establish. The focus is will be on helping new poets find their voice.

Thanet Creative Writers hold a number of events throughout the year. Matt hosts a weekly writers’ gathering at his home each Tuesday at 7:30pm (address at the bottom of most pages on this site) called Writers’ Tea and Chat. The group has no fixed agenda and is there for whatever writers feel they need to talk about. This tends to be review and feedback but not always.

Thanet Poetry Posse are an online only group where people share Thanet poetry related things.

Thanet Writers (a group founded by, but no longer affiliated with, Thanet Creative Writers) meet every Thursday at about 8pm at the Chapel to critique work and discuss the running of their website.

Third Thursday Writers’ is run by Peggy Rogers and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. There is a waiting list to join in so you’ll need to make contact in advance.

Writers’ Circle is run by Maria Brown and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. You should probably use the contact form to find out more information.

Writers Unleashed meet in the Ravensgate Arms, King Street, Ramsgate at 8pm on the second Monday of the month. The group is aimed at writers of Poetry, Prose, Flash Fiction, and Song to read or perform or listen to others.

I’ve tried my best to get as much useful information here so you can find a writers group that suits you. Things change and the details were as reasonably accurate as the sources I was able to look them up on when I wrote this list.

Over to you

  • Have I missed any writers’ groups out? Then tell me in the comments.
  • Do you go to a writers’ group? What’s it like?
  • Anything else? You know where the comments are.

First Thanet Creative Writers Event of 2017

The first gathering of Thanet Creative Writers will be hosted by Matt at his home on Tuesday 10th January. Unlike our regular events, this one is more of an open house, bring a plate, gathering where writers are encouraged to bring significant others.

We might get down to reading each other’s work or we might just socialise. It all depends on what you want to do on the night.

For more details please check out the event page

Starting a Poetry Circle

Inspired by our members’ desire to engage in more poetry writing we have started to look at setting up a poetry group.

This project is still in its early stages and open to feedback as to how exactly things will be organised. The idea is to allow new poets and more established poets to support each other and encourage the writing of verse.

The format will probably be quite like our general writers’ critique meetings but the event will only be for poetry and verse.

You can have your say in our Facebook group or on the new TCW Poetry Circle project page.

Do you write poetry? Where do you share what you have written?

Creating a safe space for writers

Establishing a safe place to share work is one of the most important things a host must do.

As hosts, we have a responsibility to look after the writers that we receive into our gatherings. Some writers, perhaps many writers, are vulnerable people. For some, writing is a way to deal with a great deal of emotional or physical pain. Sharing what we have written is not so different to being totally naked.

It is very easy to feel exposed or at least a little nervous when sharing this very intimate expression of our inner self with total strangers. As hosts of events, our job is to make our guests feel safe enough to share.

 

Keep reading Creating a safe space for writers on our new website.

Thanet Writers’ groups 2016 summary

pens in a row

Thanet is a big place. Well, it is not that big, but it is plenty big enough for a whole load of writers’ groups.

Here is a big old list of writers groups. Every last one I could find. The good, the crazy and the sort of okay. If I found them, then they are here.

Thanet’s Writers’ Groups

Broadstairs Writers’ Circle meet on the first and third Monday of the month (except August) at the Brown Jug Inn; 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Dead Island Poets. We know they meet in pubs around Thanet for open mic poetry nights and are run by a lady called Penny. As I couldn’t find a page to link to your best bet is to follow the Thanet Creative Writers group were Dead Island Poets events tend to get shared.

Hilderstone Writers’ Circle is, as far as we can tell, run by Maggie Solley at Hilderstone Adult Education College, Margate. I don’t have any further details but the contact number is 01843 860860.

Isle Writers gather 2.00pm – 4.00pm on the third Wednesday of each month (except December) at Broadstairs Library.

Inspirations hold their meetings between 11am and 1pm at Westgate Library on the fourth Saturday of each month (except December).

Thanet Creative Writers hold a number of events throughout the year. Matt hosts a weekly writers gathering at his home each Tuesday at 7:30pm (address at the bottom of most pages on this site) but there are other events which should be listed here on the website and on the Thanet Creative Writers Facebook page.

Thanet Writers (a group founded by, but no longer affiliated with, Thanet Creative Writers) meet every Thursday at about 8pm at the Chapel to critique work and discuss the running of their website.

Third Thursday Writers’ is run by Peggy Rogers and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. There is a waiting list to join in so you’ll need to make contact in advance.

Writers’ Circle is run by Maria Brown and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. You should probably use the contact form to find out more information.

Writers Unleashed meet in the Ravensgate Arms, King Street, Ramsgate at 8pm on the second monday of the month. The group is aimed at writers of Poetry, Prose, Flash Fiction, and Song to read or perform or listen to others.

I’ve tried my best to get as much useful information here so you can find a writers group that suits you. Things change and the details were as reasonably accurate as the sources I was able to look them up on when I wrote this list.

Over to you

  • Have I missed any writers’ groups out? Then tell me in the comments.
  • Do you go to a writers’ group? What’s it like?
  • Anything else? You know where the comments are.