It now seems we won’t be able to meet in person for a while to come, so your committee has been hard at work planning how we can take Sutton Writers online. Making better use of technology has been on our list for a long time, but we weren’t quite expecting this trial by fire!

This post presents an overview of plans as they stand, with the caveat that things change and we will be adding to this as we learn more about what’s possible. Or you can jump straight to the schedule, which you’ll find here.

Workshops

Our workshops are one of the big reasons people join Sutton Writers, so we’ve been focussing on how we can keep these running when we can’t meet in person. Kirsteen’s workshop on the second and fourth Wednesday have been testing using the Zoom platform for these, and it’s been deemed a success. So, we’re now including John’s Monday workshops to see how we can replicate that success.

The Wednesday workshop is best suited to those working on longer fiction pieces, such as a novel or short story. Work is shared in advance of the workshop, and participants come prepared to give detailed feedback. There is time to tackle 4-5 pieces during the workshop, and the writers to receive feedback are agreed in advance.

The Monday workshop is more of a turn-up-and-read affair. People are given 10 minutes to read their work aloud and receive immediate feedback from those in the workshop. This will be a little harder to control via Zoom, so please be patient as we work it all out!

Contact us on suttonwriters@yahoo.com if you want to join either of these workshops, and we’ll share the Zoom details with you.

The monthly meeting

We’ve also moved our monthly guest speaker sessions to Zoom, and this month, on Tuesday 12 May, we have author Fiona Harper joining us to talk about the importance of hooks to your story. Please register on Meetup.com if you’d like to attend.

The beauty of online meetings is that we can cast our net wider than we usually can, and hope to bring you some excellent speakers in the weeks to come. Find out more about Zoom in this post on our blog.

We’re also opening the monthly meeting to the public, which means you don’t need to be a current paid member of Sutton Writers to access it.

An always-on approach

Recognising that these are unprecedented times, and we’re all craving human contact, we’ve also set up a Sutton Writers Slack group. Slack is an online chat platform that you can access from your computer or your smartphone. It’s designed to keep you in contact with each other between meetings, but we’ll also use it to facilitate some online writing opportunities, such as a weekly flash fiction prompt and some dedicated focused writing time where you share your goals at the beginning of the session. This is also open to the public, meaning you don’t need to be a current paid member of Sutton Writers to access it. Read more about Slack and how we plan to use it here.

Remember, we’re also on social media

You can also join our Facebook group (paid members only), follow our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.

The new normal

This is a period of huge uncertainty, and we can’t possibly predict what’s going to happen next. That’s why we’ve moved ourselves online for now, but who knows what the future holds – if this is successful, and helps us to open our support to new members not normally able to work with us, then we’ll continue the efforts.

If you have any ideas or requests for online support, please contact us by email or comment below with your suggestions. No promises, but we’ll see what we can do!

Feature image by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash

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