End of Year Celebrations Begin

Wow! What a wonderful day: good friends, good food, good cheer – in a gorgeous home and with balmy end of Spring weather (Summer starts on Monday).

Although not quite December, the Lazy River Writers met for our end of year celebration today. We gathered on the veranda of a members’ home, seated around a table strewn with cards and nibbles.

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Our Christmas meeting followed the usual agenda
– gold bags, where we take turns talking about non-writing things that have happened during the preceding month (with the hostess of the meeting keeping an eye on the time), clearing the way for
– ‘Brags’, where we report on the status of our personal writing related goals and any exciting achievements for the month
– then we moved on to other business
– a discussion about ePublishing and
– writing exercises.

At this meeting the other business included
* handing over the reigns for the monthly newsletter and thanking the outgoing editor.

* setting meeting dates for next year and allocating the hostess for each meeting.

* nominating where we would meet on the dates the Belgrave Library would not be available.

* selecting dates for our annual retreat and discussing possible accommodation (with eight beds excluding top bunks {we’re all too mature to choose to climb to bed}) and

* fielding ideas about retreat activities, such as visiting the Peninsula Hot Springs; and the walks – beach or country?

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* discussion about hosting a writers’ workshop again with funding from Writers Victoria and the Grace Marion Wilson Trust.

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By this time, the afternoon sun was a tad too vigorous for comfort so we moved into the lounge room where we reviewed the group’s achievements this year.

Between us we have written, rewritten and edited:-
over 200 poems;
many short stories,
children’s books,
A novel
articles
a thesis;
many projects,
letters of support,
grant proposals and applications;
an acquittal report;
a ghost writing project
And more…

We have
Published children’s stories,
and picture story books,
in Australia and overseas.

We have won prizes and
achieved placements
– on long lists and short lists,
– sitting comfortably beside ‘big names’ in our writing communities.

Our voices have been heard on the radio reading and discussing our work and we have been interviewed in the press, in blogs and in eZines.

We have (almost) completed a month of daily flash fiction and a month of daily blogging.

One member attempted NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month [over 30,000 words!]) but life intervened. Not to be deterred she is going to try again next month – and her daughter is going to do it, too. Can you imagine what the energy in that household will be like?

Of course our successes have been tempered by some activity that has not attracted success. That is natural. We celebrate the activity as well as the accolades.

It can be demoralising to receive non-acceptance after non-acceptance, but we all know we won’t get our work in the right hands at the right time unless we keep sending it out. And some years our hit rate is high and spectacular.

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We exchanged presents in an anonymous Kris Kringle (and I noticed we disguised our hand writing on the gift tags).

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And we celebrated all the years we’ve known each other (since 2000 when we attended a Victorian Writers Centre workshop at the Belgrave Library about winning competitions.

In was certainly a winning decision from all of us to attend the workshop, to set SAMs (Specific, Achievable, Measurable goals), and to meet at the (then) Lazy River Cafe the following month … and the one after … and to form the Lazy River Writers with Doris Leadbetter (deceased) as our patron.

We have achieved much through our group; not the least of which are our amazing bonds of friendship.

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