The Writer Has Landed

photos, Melinda Roos
photos, Melinda Roos

Yesterday was watershed day.

It was my first writers’ circle.

I think it was back in Dubai, more than 20 years ago when I first realised that belonging to a writers’ circle was fundamental to my well-being and happiness. That first group grew out of a writing class that had been run by my father when he came over on holiday. Yep, my pa is a writer too. Guess, it’s his fault I thought writing was a real career and probably his fault too, genetically-speaking, that my son, Joshua, is now following in our footsteps.

Then, I thought I could run writing classes too and so, from then on, I founded my circle after running a workshop. This happened in Oman and in Norway too, even in the Netherlands.

Back in May, I ran a short version of my Naked Writer course (it’s about finding your voice and writing from the heart, in case you were wondering) and sure enough, when it was time to start the circle that now forms my backbone, it was back to those students that I ran. Lucky, lucky, lucky me that Melinda was in that first Netherlands circle and is now here, so with her by my side it was no-brainer to ask her to help me fill first that workshop and now the circle.

And so, yesterday, four others joined Melinda and me at my apartment. It was fantastic – for me anyway!

I love the writers’ circle, not because it gives me a chance to ‘show off’, nor because it lets me boss everyone around (though I expect my mother would disagree). I love it because, over time, this group of people become soulmates. Together we create a supportive, gentle, encouraging space in which to share our dreams and fears while flexing our writing muscles. I love it because I get so inspired by the things everyone else writes in the ten minute speedwrite that we always use to kick off the session. And I get inspired just by being around others who love what I love.

The other thing is, that while I naturally start off as the leader, this is not how it’s supposed to be. A circle is run by a pancake rather than a pyramid of people. Everyone gets a chance to read and get feedback and everyone shares their thoughts. I just add a professional angle if a writer would benefit from my advice or a connection to the perfect place to publish that masterpiece they just shared.

So, yesterday, I was walking on air. This is IT. This is the sign that this writer has finally started her new life in Kuala Lumpur.

Thanks, Melinda, it was all down to you!


5 thoughts on “The Writer Has Landed

  1. Jo, you’ve certainly landed and I am so happy you have as ditto here – and thanks to some magical serendipity (otherwise called mutual friend Tom Evans) I arrive just at the right time… and there is no such thing as an accident! Here’s to much more…congrats!!

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  2. Ah, yes, dear Jo, your writer’s circle back in Oman in 1994 (!) saved my life. In addition it helped me realize my almost secret ambition to become a real journalist, gave me encouragement, confronted my self-consciousness and gave me some real human, inspiring company during my first expat posting, which, back then, was a very alienating experience for me.

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