Celebrations was published in the Circle Clinic column in The New Writer

To celebrate the 100th issue of The New Writer magazine, I want all writers’ circles to celebrate too. But instead of answering a reader’s question this time, I want to set you a challenge. Go to your next writers’ circle meeting and ask the following question: What has each individual member achieved, since joining the writers’ circle?

To me, The New Writer, is like a writers’ circle. Every two months, I receive a regular fix of writing advice, hints and tips, news and of course, great writing. But what have I achieved, since I joined this group? Well, my very first dalliance with this group was back in the early 1990s, when it was under the name of Quartos. In the Nov/Dec 1993 issue I had an article published, entitled, Are You A Dull Daydreamer Or A Respectable Writer? Since then, I have had nearly 400 articles published, seen numerous short stories published (here in the UK and in Ireland and Australia), been on the UK top ten non-fiction paperback bestseller lists for 4 weeks, had 9 books published to date, won several competitions and I’ve even been a judge for TNW’s Poetry and Prose competition. List it like that and I think – wow!

I sat and thought about the members of the writers’ circle that I go to. What had they achieved? Two others have had books published by mainstream publishers, three have successfully self published books (which needed several reprints), two members were lucky enough to read their poetry out on Radio 4, one’s had her very first short story accepted by a magazine in Australia, whilst one has had a regular column in a local magazine. Again, – wow!

So at your next meeting, let everyone sit down and give them 10 or 15 minutes to write down what they have achieved with their writing since joining the group. For some members, this may include being published, or winning competitions. For others, it may simply be gaining the confidence to read their own work out to other members at a meeting. If that’s something they didn’t have the confidence to do, then this is an achievement! Everybody’s achievements will be different.

When you’ve done that, go around the room and ask for everyone to read out their list. It doesn’t matter how long or short it is. Have someone write them down again on some flipchart paper for all to see. When you’ve done that, stop and look at what’s on your group’s list. Wow! Then share your successes with me. I’d love to hear about them. Email me or write to me c/o The New Writer.

Learn to celebrate your group’s successes and join in The New Writer’s celebrations. Crack open the bubbly and toast yourselves. You deserve it!

© Simon Whaley